Svehla's retirement update

Very interesting Article, take a look:

It probably may take an extra million dollars — US of course — and the consent of two young children to bring star defenceman Robert Svehla back to the Maple Leafs for the 2003-04 NHL season.

That’s the impression I had after talking to Svehla yesterday from his home in Trencin, Slovakia. Robo, as Svehla is known to his friends, was reading a book when I reached him by phone. But his hockey equipment was at the door, to head to yet another workout after he finished reading that particular chapter.

The workman-like defenceman has a 30% stake in the Dukla Trencin club and came out of planned retirement to join the Leafs last year when the club agreed to support Dukla Trencin to the tune of $1 million.

“I have been retiring for the past four years, but somehow I still got back to the game I love,” Svehla said. “But this time it’s not only my decision. My sons (Dominik, 12 and Robert, 8) love it in Trencin.

“Mind you, they also liked Toronto where they made good friends. I could, perhaps, just say to them that we’re returning to Toronto for one more year and that would be it. But I don’t want to do that. I want them (his kids) and my wife, Ludmila, to tell me that they want to return.

“I have to think of them and their schooling. Last year, we brought a teacher — Anna Zigova — from Trencin to Toronto to teach the boys in Slovak. She taught them well because both of them had high marks.”

What would it take to have him postpone retirement plans for at least one more year, I asked?

“As I said, it would take, in the first place, the consent of my family,” Svehla said. “Then, perhaps, I would hope that the Leafs would contribute (again) to the Dukla Trencin team. After that it would also depend on what kind of team Pat Quinn would line up for next season.”

Putting the emphasis, perhaps inadvertently or subconsciously, on the word “we,” Svehla added: “We still need a solid defenceman. (Glen) Wesley is a steady defenceman who doesn’t make mistakes. (Bryan) McCabe was ready for the season, but perhaps thinking too much about his play. But we need another (stay at home) defenceman.”

Svehla discussed his situation the other day with Quinn, who told him he would understand if the defenceman decided to stay retired for family reasons.

In that case, Quinn said he would need an answer within two weeks, so he could direct the extra money towards signing another free agent blue-liner.

But Quinn also told Svehla he would like to see him back in a Maple Leafs uniform for next season.

Has Robo discussed his plans with other people in addition to his agent, Ritch Winter?

“I spoke to Mats Sundin at the world championship,” Svehla said. “He told me I’d be crazy not to return to Toronto because the team needs me. In the next day or two, I’ll be talking to Eddie Belfour. He’s another older, experienced player and I’ll discuss the situation with him.”

Svehla will not hear any objections from Ludmila about returning to Toronto.

She is a gifted equestrienne who competed in Toronto. She is now waiting for the arrival of her horse from Toronto via Amsterdam. Ludmila is not against spending another season in Toronto because she could continue riding here.

Svehla is not the only European player who has a financial interest in a local hockey team. His Maple Leafs sidekick, Jyrki Lumme, is part owner of a Finnish second division team and Svehla soon hopes to organize a game between Trencin and Lumme’s club.

“Several Swedish players are supporting some Swedish teams,” Svehla said. “And Pavol Demitra (St. Louis Blues) and (Marian) Hossa (Ottawa Senators) are also helping Dukla Trencin financially.”

Could Svehla switch NHL clubs next season if he failed to reach an agreement with the Leafs?

“A lot would depend on Toronto’s scouting results,” he said. “The management is disappointed after the loss to Philadelphia in the first round.”

The way he talked, I could tell that he would feel more comfortable in the familiar surroundings of the Air Canada Centre.

The next step will be Quinn’s. With the Canadian dollar up, the extra million, or so, to the Dukla Trencin club would help him land a solid defenceman, his family and Ludmila’s horse for another crack at the Stanley Cup.

12 Responses to Svehla's retirement update

  1. Pokecheck89 says:

    It would be great to see Robert Svehla back next season, even though some fans may not be happy with Svehla’s attitude, and since many people think hes just doing this to get more money. I dont think it matters. Svehla was either the best, or one of the best defensemen last season. And if the Leafs can get him back, re-sign Glen Wesley, and possibly sign impending free agents Darian Hatcher, or Greg De Vris. The Leafs probably wont go for Hatcher if they can resign Wesley and get Svehla back, so they will most likely go with De Vris.

    Kaberle – Svehla

    Wesley – McCabe

    De Vris – Lumme(if they can’t get rid of him)/ Berg/ Coliacavo/ any other defensmen prospect.

    To me it looks like a pretty strong defensive corp.

  2. keon says:

    I honestly believe that Svehla’s heart is in the right place. Would you, as a Canadian, want to raise your children in the United States, even after you were financially stable for the rest of your life? I havn’t ruled out Svehla’s return next season, however, if the Leafs can sign a guy like Hatcher, then Svehla would be quickly forgotten. I’m still a firm believer that the Leafs need to improve themselves on the left wing. centre and RW are pretty solid, but after Roberts, there’s not much to look at. Goaltending is still a major issue for Toronto too. Perhaps they will address this situation at the draft.

  3. tharock098 says:

    GOALTENDING AN ISSUE! ARE YOU NUTS! Belfour is a finalist for the VEZINA!

  4. pantherboy says:

    Maybe, just maybe, he could of been talking about a back-up. OR a need for a frachise-player caliber prospect to fill in Belfours skates when he is done in a year or two. Surely Leaf fans are not happy with Telquivist I hope, or that Centomo kid.

  5. tml28 says:

    belfour is steady

    then theres kidd who is sometimes inconsistant

    then theres tellqvist somewhat good but not yet great and proven well see

    a good backup would be felix the cat potvin it would really make me happy to see him back in a tml uniform but thats my opinion what does anybody else think of felix the cat as a back up who could become more expeienced by backing up the eagle, it would be great and then in the near future it would be tellqvist backing up felix or even the other way around, i like it. GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!

  6. tml28 says:

    dump lumme sign yushkevich and forget about de vris let berg play

  7. WeStSiDe says:

    Lumme? Dont think so, we have Jackman,Hedin, and Pilar ready to step in for full time roles, Coliacovo and Bell will be in St.Johns. Berg will likely be a reserve, if at all.

    Ideally I would like Hatcher in place of a Wesley or a Svehla but I dont know if that will happen, have to wait and see.

  8. WeStSiDe says:

    Lumme? Dont think so, we have Jackman,Hedin, and Pilar ready to step in for full time roles, Coliacovo and Bell will be in St.Johns. Berg will likely be a reserve, if at all.

    Ideally I would like Hatcher in place of a Wesley or a Svehla but I dont know if that will happen, have to wait and see.

  9. WeStSiDe says:


    It will be Belfour this year, and then likely one of our goalie prospects or a Free Agent.

    A lot of our prospects are comming along.

  10. keon says:

    ok, what happens when belfour is done, what would you do?

  11. Leaf_Expert says:

    This is what is a high possiblity…And how I think the lines should be paired.


    McCabe-De Vries


    The srtong, offensive and big defensive lines.

  12. TML51 says:

    Shvela staying would be a huge plus for the Leafs. Furthermore, Wesley stating to the Leafs and the press that he would like to stay here is an even bigger plus! While that would be fantastic…they’re not here yet.

    The Leafs are still in need of a “stud” defenseman. Setting the sights on Hatcher is unrealistic. The Stars are reportedly attempting to clear out the roster so that they have room to resign their captain. de Vries might be more realistic to pursue. One name that I’m suprised hasn’t come up on a more regular basis (with regards to the Leaf Defense) is Yuskevich. That’s one free agent I’d be watching as far as UFA signings for the leafs goes.

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