Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Will Mats Sundin commit the ultimate act of betrayal in the eyes of Toronto Maple Leafs fans and bolt as a free agent this summer, possibly to the Montreal Canadiens?
KK will not become the Mats Sundin network. As many of you know, this type of story will continue to grow and grow until Mats make his decision. We will pick and choose carefully when pointing to Sundin stories.
Update 12:12pm ET: (alanah) To hear Sundin’s comments for yourself, they’re on video from the Canadian Press.
NEW YORK (May 28, 2008) – Toronto Maple Leafs center Mats Sundin has been named the recipient of the Mark Messier Leadership Award for the 2007-08 season in recognition for his outstanding performance as a player, his leadership skills and his dedicated humanitarian efforts.
“The truest test of leadership comes during periods of adversity,” said Messier. “When presented with difficult times during the season, Mats Sundin remained committed to his teammates, his community and to the game of hockey. I am honored to present the Mark Messier Leadership Award to Mats Sundin. He understands the importance of his status in Toronto and his dedication to his community is unmatched. The strength of his character makes Mats a tremendous role model both on and off the ice.”
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News,
Every executive I’ve spoken to over the past month says they’re convinced the Anaheim Ducks will at some point this summer free Burke from his obligations and allow him to join the Leafs.
“He’ll be there,” is a common refrain, “and he’ll be there this summer.”
Sometime around June 25, five days after the draft, is the over-under date for most executives.
Burke still hasn’t signed his contract extension and apparently has no intention of doing so. The thinking is that rather than having a lame-duck GM hanging around who clearly doesn’t want to be there, the Ducks will finally tell Burke if he wants to go to Toronto that badly, then he’d best be on his way.
From Canwest News via the Leader Post,
Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment might be zeroing in on a third-tier British soccer side as the Toronto-based sports conglomerate looks to expand internationally.
The owners of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, NBA’s Toronto Raptors, Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC and the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies are in talks about purchasing Leeds United, according to a report in the Sunday Mirror, a British newspaper. The newspaper cited unnamed sources close to MLSE.
*The original report can be read in the UK paper, Sunday Mirror.
From Darren Dreger at TSN,
Sources tell TSN the Toronto Maple Leafs have been shutdown by yet another team in their quest to rebuild management.
Maple Leafs interim general manager Cliff Fletcher asked the Florida Panthers for permission to speak with Joe Nieuwendyk last week and the Panthers declined.
Toronto must wait until July 1 when Nieuwendyk’s contract with the Panthers expires before they can officially approach him.
From Morris Della Costa at the London Free Press,
There’s no question the heat is on Peddie. He talked about the two websites dedicated to petitions to get him removed as CEO. One website, firerichardpeddie.ca, has close to 14,000 signatures.
He comes under constant criticism about his performance. Most people would say they don’t read the newspapers. Not Peddie.
“Presidents are people, too. We bleed. I read all of it,” he said. “Some people say they don’t (read) but I have to. There may be something there we have to correct or be mindful of. It’s tough some days. But this job is not for the fainthearted. You have to be comfortable that you are doing the right thing.”
*I’m not sure Peddie should be too concerned about FireRichardPeddie.ca—of the 14,000 “signatures”, it would appear that about 13,860 are advertisements for viagra and vicodin.
From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail,
Nonis was expected to have dinner last night with Toronto lawyer Gordon Kirke, who is part of the Leafs’ search committee. Nonis is to then meet today with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie.
The Leafs aren’t the only team interested Nonis, as he continues to be wooed by the Atlanta Thrashers and an unidentified third NHL team that still has a general manager in place.
The third team is believed to be the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis president John Davidson could not be reached for comment last night.
Update 9:23pm ET: More from Wharnsby, later in the day,
The meeting between the Toronto Maple Leafs and prospective general manager candidate David Nonis was described more as a session of getting acquainted rather than a formal interview.
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
The Anaheim Ducks, surely, will wake up one day soon and realize they’ve got to let their GM, Brian Burke, talk to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
If not, they’re making a terrible mistake.
This is going to be a distraction for them every single day until Burke’s contract expires after next season. Especially if two things happen:
1) The Ducks can’t get Burke to sign a contract extension.
2) The Leafs hire Burke’s friend Dave Nonis in some form of front-office role while very much keeping the big job open. Nonis, fired as Vancouver Canucks GM last month, is meeting with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment early next week.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
According to president Richard Peddie, the club wants “a winner,” someone who is a “long-term builder and short-term fixer,” an executive with “NHL experience and an established track record, a success on and off the ice.”
From that, most people have come to believe the Leafs want a president/GM with one or more Stanley Cup rings gathered through years of senior management experience with one or more teams before ascending, to steal Brian Burke’s words, to “the Vatican” of hockey.
An admirable goal.
What’s interesting, however, is that of the four teams that have made their way to the NHL’s conference championships this spring, none are managed by individuals who initially made their way into their current jobs by first accumulating the type of experience the Leafs are apparently demanding.
From Ed Willes at The Province,
As anyone who’s seen an Oliver Stone movie can tell you, it’s now clear that Wednesday’s TSN report was the first act in a sequence of events which will inevitably lead to Brian Burke and Dave Nonis reuniting in Toronto to run the Maple Leafs.
I mean, who would argue differently? The crack management team at Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment has long since targeted Burke as the man who would be king of their empire. Nonis, his close confederate and former first lieutenant with the Vancouver Canucks, has recently been made available amid an equally interesting set of circumstances.
Put it all together and the inescapable conclusion is Nonis has been approached to serve as a caretaker GM in Toronto while Burke completes the last year of his contract with the Anaheim Ducks. The two allies will then resume their working relationship in the Big Smoke in 2009-10 with Burke running the show and Nonis serving as his No. 2 and that will wrap up everything in a nice, neat package.
continued… and as Willes goes on to note, there’s some problems with this theory.
Update 3:44pm ET: Jim Kelly at Sports Illustrated doesn’t think the idea is as crazy as it seems.
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