PTS with BOB and JFJ

Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown

Featuring: Toronto Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr.

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Time: 5:00 P.M. EST

In an outspoken conversation between Bob McCown, and Darryl Brunt, there were endless questions asked about not only the management of MLSE (Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment) but the players as well. In a recent article in the Toronto Star, written by Pierre Lebrun, he explains the situation:

“Sundin isn’t the only player looking for a new deal. Winger Alexei Ponikarovsky will be a restricted free agent this summer while Nik Antropov, Bates Battaglia, Boyd Devereaux, Travis Green, Jeff O’Neill, Michael Peca and Yanic Perreault are unrestricted free agents. They won’t all be back.Forwards signed for next season are Matt Stajan, Alex Steen, John Pohl, Darcy Tucker, Kyle Wellwood, Kris Newbury and Chad Kilger.On defence, McCabe, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, Hal Gill, Wade Belak and Andy Wozniewski are all under contract while Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo are restricted free agents.

In goal, Raycroft will enter the second season of a three-year deal while backup J.S. Aubin is unrestricted.”

In a recent poll by the Toronto Star, over 70% of the voters announced their arrangements for a new Maple Leafs GM to start the upcoming season. Bob took a different approach on the question. “Here’s my question. If you were the chairman of the board and you faced the question of whether or not you would keep John Ferguson around for another season, how would you respond?” John quickly jumped at the occasion stating “I would definitely keep him around for another season. I have to say I have grown as a much better manager from when I first began. We stated at the beginning of the year that we were going to struggle to make the playoffs and at the end of the year, we did just that. You also have to remember that our biggest problem was our injuries. We suffered the most man lost games in the entire league this year, and our power-play really died out after Tucker and Wellwood got injured for 35 plus games.”

Soon, Darryl and Bob got down to business. “When looking at this year, and thinking ahead to next year, is there going to be a big change in this team? Are we looking at 1 to 2 players leaving, or more along the lines of 6 to 8?” John, once again, quickly commented, replying with “More along the latter (6-8). We will be addressing our needs through trades, and free agency. I believe we got a good look at how strong our youth are, who we have nurtured and developed through our system, and they will carry us into next season.” But once the comment was made, Darryl stepped up. “When you’re burdened by larger contracts, and the salary cap only expected to rise around 2 million next season, how do you intend on addressing your needs without the money? Won’t it be difficult to trade away the excess salaries?” John did not hesitate. “We’ll see about that. We have a plan on retooling, and we will strive towards the gate for next season.” After their brief thank you, John made his final statement. “I plan on being here for a long time. And as a group, we will work towards the future and success of our franchise.”


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