Svehla Retired Officially? Wesley contract closer than ever

KEN CAMPBELL

SPORTS REPORTER

The Maple Leafs lost their best defenceman from the regular season when Robert Svehla confirmed that he intends to remain retired.

But they got some good news on their best defenceman from the playoffs when they received Glen Wesley’s proposal for a new contract.

Svehla made it clear that his on-again, off-again career with the Leafs was off when he informed his agent Ritch Winter of his decision yesterday. Svehla, who announced his retirement shortly after the Leafs were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, reconsidered his decision after speaking directly to Leafs GM-coach Pat Quinn last week.

In fact, the two sides had come to terms on the parameters of a new contract, which included a raise on his $4 million (U.S.) salary. But in the end, Svehla decided he didn’t have another year of hockey left in his 34-year-old body.

“He just doesn’t have the passion to play at this point,” Winter said. “A lot of people said he should still be playing, but this was not something he thought he should do for other people.”

Svehla said yesterday that he was tempted to return to the Leafs after speaking with Quinn, but said his family is more important than hockey.

“My family would rather stay here (Slovakia) and we are very happy right now,” Svehla said.

When asked whether he has retired for good this time, Svehla said, “Yes, I think so. My position is that I want to retire and in two weeks I don’t want to go through all this again.”

But despite the Leafs’ request he file retirement papers, Svehla won’t do that at the urging of Winter, who would still like to leave the door open a sliver.

“He was willing to do so, but he hasn’t done that on my advice,” Winter said. “Will it change things? I don’t think so but never say never.”

Leafs executive Bill Watters, meanwhile, received a contract proposal from Wesley’s agent, Rick Curran, yesterday and the two sides will talk again next week.

While Watters wouldn’t comment on the particulars of the proposal, he said there is reason for optimism.

“It was pretty much what Rick told me it was going to be and there were no surprises,” Watters said. “It was not outlandish by any stretch.”

Wesley will become a free agent July 1 if the Leafs don’t sign him before then.

With Svehla, the Leafs will pick up the option on his contract simply to retain his rights if he does change his mind again. But there’s little doubt that Svehla’s retirement leaves a huge void on the blue line that will likely be filled by a free-agent acquisition. The Leafs will undoubtedly be in the running should Derian Hatcher of the Dallas Stars become a free agent, but a more likely possibility is Ken Klee of the Washington Capitals or Greg de Vries of the Colorado Avalanche.

Meanwhile, Leaf winger Alexander Mogilny appears to be sticking to his word that he won’t attend the NHL awards ceremony tomorrow night in Toronto. Mogilny stands an excellent chance of being named winner of the Lady Byng Trophy as most gentlemanly player, but a source close to Mogilny said he won’t be here to accept it.

Leafs goalie Ed Belfour, a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender, will be at the gala.


17 Responses to Svehla Retired Officially? Wesley contract closer than ever

  1. JeffBurnz09 says:

    Leaf fans can never really see the differance between “in the running” for a player, and “would like to have” a player. If Hatcher leaves Dallas, he won’t end up in Toronto. Sure, they probably want him, but why is he going to leave for Toronto? Leave a team that he’s a corner stone of, been with his entire career, and can win the cup next year, so he can go to Toronto and play for a middle of the pack team? Plus he’s American, I don’t see why he’d leave his american team to go play in Canada. I think its about 90% that Hatcher ends up back in Dallas, but if he doesnt, I’m sure Toronto isnt even considered by him.

  2. Finisher says:

    your comments make no sense, why would he want to stay in dallas after they lost to the ducks, I am sick of peoples bullshit comments dallas has the same chance as winning as the leafs do, shit have you not learned anything the last two years with carolina and the ducks, the leafs will always be around cause they have the money and with nolan healthy and antropov improving who knows,why would he not wanna go to toronto with his buddy the eagle there,…..basically who the hell knows unless you are good buddies with him, whitch I highly doubt case closed…

  3. Sane04 says:

    Why would he leave an American team to go play in Canada? Simply because Canada kicks ass. It is a privilege to play in Canada not an option.

  4. mikster says:

    His agent even stated that he mentioned he would not mind playing there.

  5. OldNord says:

    I’m a soothsayer!!!

    This week-end, main title :

    Svehla changes one’s mind and considering to return with the Leafs after all!!!

    Next week :

    The next day of a drunk’s night, he decides that he will finally stays in Slovenia!!!

    Three days later :

    Expert look : Svehla called me on the phone and said that he’s gonna play one more season.

    SCTP- repeating repeatedly’s repetitive

  6. JeffBurnz09 says:

    Other than Leaf fans hoping, has there been any reason to think he’s going to Dallas? anytime a player is rumored to go to another team, Leaf fans all think its going to be them. There’s been no reason to think he’d go to Toronto, and there’s been no reason to think he’s leaving Dallas until he does.

    And as for who’s better, Dallas or Toronto, I won’t touch that one because there’s alot of Leaf fans here…and alot of them still think they’re better than Ottawa…

  7. bender says:

    Just to make the overwhelming amount of Leaf posts fun, could you guys start throwing in some outrageous trade rumors like you usually do.

    Thanks guys!!!

    (ps. I’m not joking)

    Hearing what the hell kind of happy meal Svehla ordered is find and dandy for you leaf folk……but I can hear about that 20 times on TSN!!

    Liven it up a little Leaffers!!

  8. OldNord says:

    Watch out when a big name will be on the block next season or this summer.

    Remember the Kovalev’s saga last season.

    Too much posts for the same point of view.

  9. defenestrate says:

    You’re a soothsayer? Get some Anbesol and see the dentist….

  10. defenestrate says:

    Rumor is – Scotty’s going to the Leafs. He’s going to open Eddie’s beers for him, and be Dougie’s punching bag, so he can finally actually win a fight (Gilmour, that is).

    SCTP – “We never forgive, or forget”.

  11. OldNord says:

    sorry, don’t caught that one.

  12. BlueJacketshockey says:

    Yeah to jack up the price, he is not going to Moronto.

    Get over it Make believe fan’s

    And before someone mentions about his friendship with crazy Eddie. Last year people were talking about Selanne going to Montreal cause of friendship with the Habs captain and that did not happen.

    You people are blinded by your loyalty.

    When was the last time Toronto ever signed a big name fa?What is it about Canada that is so special to play, that Hatcher would leave behind the only team he has ever played for, a team that he won a cup with, a team that is not poor, a team that plays in a state (Texas)that have the least taxes outside of Florida in the US, to go to a middle of the pack team, high taxes, a aging core that even most fan’s admit has only a year or 2 left and he is not even Canadian?

    I can understand you are loyal to your club, but please use logic. Is that so much to ask for?

  13. tml28 says:

    defense now:

    Kaberle/hatcher

    mccabe/wesley

    berg/pilar/jackman

    theyll get straka in a trade for a top leftwinger

    straka/sundin/mogilny

    roberts/antro/nolan

    tucker/green/domi

    fitz/richel/renberg

  14. wrightstuff77 says:

    I have heard numerous times about how players won’t come up to Canada because of the taxes. While I am no financial expert I would think getting paid in U.S. dollars and making all of your larger purchases (house, cars, cottages) in Canadian money might just about off-set the difference.

    To be honest I think Americans are like most Canadians, all things considered equal, I’d rather play in Canada (being that I’m Canadian), and I assume most others think that way as well.

    Hatcher is in a tough situation as I understand it not because he’s American, or because he is or isn’t friends with the Eagle, but because Dallas simply can’t afford to sign everyone they’d like to. Afterall they have deep pockets but they’re not the Rangers.

    As for the wild Leaf rumors, I couldn’t agree more there are often wild rumors coming from the laef camp (which I am a member of, being a Leaf Fan) however I doubt anyone would say that a Jagr for Lindros trade would have been any more likely than the Leafs grabbing Hatcher.

    At any rate a more likely scenario of Greg Devries would be good for the Leafs as they have always had a difficulttime getting stellar d-men, since maybe Borje Salming in the 70’s-80’s (when by the way the rest of the team sucked.

    Random thoughts

  15. Brymer19 says:

    I agree. I am a diehard Leafs fan but when you see all of these morons saying that every single player available is gonna either sign or be traded to the Leafs is getting tiring. I would not mind seeing many of those moves made but, again, many if not all are pretty impossible. I wish there were more people on here that faced the truth instead of writing endless shit thats not gonna happen. Can’t we block these imbred jackasses?

  16. tml28 says:

    salming isnt a d man

  17. tml28 says:

    what would u know u like the bluejackets

    they signed mogilny thats pretty big

    how about cujo or eddie or maybe even roberts

    u dont know what ur talkin about, who likes the bluejackets what a weirdo and what r u stickin up 4 dallas 4 ull never no what its like 2 be a hockey fan

    i 4 1 live in america but i appreciate canada and i would want to play there any day especially in the

    hockey universe TORONTO so when u see hatcher sign with the leafs this summer ull be the joke, ur just mad cause ur team doesnt have any money and will never sign a big name. whens the last time the bluejackets signed a big name and 4 that matter won a game that counts. peace out GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!!!!! DONT BE MAD

    TML28 GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!!——-U WISH U COULD SAY THAT BUT U CANT. HAHA

    p.s THE BLUEJACKETS SUCK AND SO DOES DALLAS.

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