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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
MAybe if they get rid of half the roster it will be a start. Reports on the Fan 590 are saying that the Leafs want to sign McCabe and that Toronto is the only team that will pay him the 5 million. I say trade him and let's gamble that Redden or Chara becomes avaliable.

Peddie, Ferguson huddle after weekend loss to Senators dents playoff hopes


HOCKEY REPORTER; With a report from Robert MacLeod

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie rarely watches a Toronto Maple Leafs game from the general manager's box, high above the ice surface in the Air Canada Centre.

But curiously, there was Peddie, sitting alongside Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr., on Saturday as the Leafs were dumped for the fifth game in a row, this time 4-2 by their provincial rivals, the Ottawa Senators.

Even more bizarre was that moments after the Leafs slipped further out of National Hockey League playoff contention, Peddie stepped inside the press-box elevator with Ferguson and a few reporters.

On the way down to rink level, he said out loud to his GM: "I'm going to the [Toronto Raptors basketball] game [on Sunday]. I'll be around. So if you want to do any of the stuff we talked about tonight, let me know and I will let the board know."

Was Peddie sincere or was the chief executive officer of MLSE, which owns both the Maple Leafs and the Raptors, putting on a show for the nearby reporters?

Judging from Ferguson's reaction -- he nervously fidgeted -- Peddie's comments were of the serious nature.

"I sit in with general manager all the time," Peddie said yesterday from the Air Canada Centre, where he was watching the Raptors' 111-105 win over the Boston Celtics. "And for Saturday's game, I gave away my seats to charity.

"[Ferguson has] complete flexibility to make whatever trades. If there's something really major, he has to come to the board."

And if the losing continues this week?

"You've heard John say, he's going to try to improve the team, but he's going to be balancing both short and long term," Peddie said. "But I don't know on imminent. He's working on trades, yeah."

The NHL trade deadline -- 3 p.m. EST on Thursday -- is fast approaching and Ferguson hasn't made a deal since shipping fourth-line forward Nathan Perrott to the Dallas Stars for a mid-round draft pick on Nov. 6.

The "stuff" Peddie intimated could mean Ferguson has decided that Pat Quinn's days as the head coach would be done if the Leafs can't beat the Montreal Canadiens at home tomorrow, although yesterday Peddie shrugged off the possibility of any imminent changes.

The Leafs, 27-28-5, have failed to beat the Senators in seven tries this season, and Toronto's record has dipped below .500 for the first time since Oct. 10.

Their playoff hopes are rickety, thanks to a recent 3-13-2 slump. With 44 days and 22 games remaining in the regular season, the Leafs find themselves in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, seven points out of the eighth and final playoff position.

That spot is occupied by the Canadiens, who have a game in hand on Toronto and will play in Philadelphia against the Flyers tonight.

If the Habs manage a fourth consecutive win on their six-game road swing and the New York Islanders beat the Washington Capitals tonight, the idle Leafs would fall into 12th spot, nine points out of the playoffs.

Toronto also lost forward Eric Lindros for the rest of the season when he reinjured his right wrist taking a slap shot late in the second period on Saturday. He plans to undergo surgery this week and will miss the rest of the season.

Lindros was on the verge of tears when he reported the diagnosis on his latest setback. His career continues to be haunted by injuries. In his first season in Toronto, he has played in only 33 games, scoring 11 times and registering 22 points.

"I tore it again," said Lindros, who returned to action on Feb. 28 after missing 27 games with an injured wrist ligament.

"It's not a lot of fun right now. . . . I'm done."

The Lindros injury appeared to be mismanaged from Day 1.

The 12-year veteran and team trainers tried different braces in the days after the injury occurred. Then, a couple of weeks later, he had his wrist and hand encased in a cast.

The Leafs, in their usual cloud of secrecy, never publicly explained the reason behind the decision not to surgically repair the original injury.

Interestingly, all of Saturday's developments happened on the 10th anniversary of Pat Burns's being fired as the head coach of the Leafs because a 3-16-3 slide.
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