Ex-Leafs GM defends his spending

GARY LOEWEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

With Maple Leaf Spurts of Entertainment Ltd. being asked to remove its “Leafs Nation, Spirit is Everything” stencils from the pathways of Toronto, we hearken back to the wisdom of the late Conn Smythe.

To paraphrase: The Leafs can't beat 'em on the ice and they can't beat 'em on the alley way.

Tip of the cap

Regarding a comment last week about the current Maple Leafs being hampered by salary commitments stemming from John Ferguson's reign as general manager:

"The only remaining salary commitments (for next season) are (Tomas) Kaberle at $4.25 million and Jason Blake at a $4 million cap hit ($3 million cash) for a total of $8.25 million cap hit ($7.25 million cash)," Ferguson says in an e-mail.

"The Leafs have current commitments of more than $35.3 million for 2010-11.”

Among those commitments is $1 million owed to Darcy Tucker as part of a buyout negotiated by interim GM Cliff Fletcher in June 2008.

JFJ had signed Tucker to a four-year extension in 2007.

When they cut him loose, the Leafs were on the hook for two-thirds of his remaining pact -- $6 million to be paid over six years, instead of keeping him and paying $9 million over three years.

So does Tucker go on Ferguson's tab?

"Yes and no," Ferguson says. "An interesting case given the club conceivably saved only $3 million cash (by buying out Tucker). When you factor in a replacement player cost, (Niklas) Hagman at $3 million, for instance, the slot actually costs $4 million (annually)."

Fair enough, the Leafs signed Hagman to a four-year deal worth $3 million annually in July 2008.

Hagman's name has come up in trade speculation, with GM Brian Burke trying to recover a draft pick or two.

Are the Leafs going forward or backward? Discuss amongst y'all.

Out of torch

Cold and windy weather has knocked the 2010 Olympic torch out of service 12 times already on its cross-country trek, the Vancouver Province reports.

Clearly, they need the hot air of more media bearers to keep it alive.

Hooked on Bosh

For the heavy-duty Chris Bosh fan on your Christmas list:

The Raptors forward is releasing a DVD on Dec. 15 entitled Chris Bosh Presents: First Ink.

The serious side: The film documents "the most important off-season of his career ... as Chris discusses the changes that will affect him for the rest of his life, including the motivation behind a new training regiment," the news release says.

The funny side: There are five new digital shorts that feature the comic side of Chris.

Also, "Chris openly discusses ... his relationship with Vince Carter."

Whoa, that may be too much information.

gary.loewen@sunmedia.ca


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