The Maple Leafs' frequent boast to be the most important franchise in the NHL apparently wasn't heard by The Hockey News.
In its annual list of the "top 100 people of power and influence," no one directly associated to the Leafs' executive, hockey office or player branch made the cut. The only two Leafs connections were CTV network CEO Ivan Fecan, a member of the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. board of directors at No. 16, and broadcaster Bill Watters at 88.
Fecan was included mainly for his input into how much Bell Globemedia will bid for the coming Hockey Night In Canada contract.
The top 100 did include 16 other Toronto-based league, players' association, agent and media members.
PILAR OF STRENGTH
Defenceman Karel Pilar might one day get back in the Leafs picture. Sidelined the better part of three seasons by a viral infection affecting his heart, he has received clearance to resume skating for Litvinov in the Czech League.
"We're just going through some documentation and there's a chance he could play in the playoffs over there," said Leafs assistant general manager Mike Penny.
Pilar, now 29, is a Group 2 free agent.
Coach Paul Maurice says the Leafs are close to finalizing plans to invite players' fathers on a trip in February or March.
The Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders already organize such bonding ventures.
HOCKEY DAY FOR WAR VETS
The Leafs were in full support of turning last night's Hockey Day In Canada into a salute to the armed forces.
Maurice spent almost 10 years in Carolina near American military posts at Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg.
"You fire up the word 'warrior' for years and then see the front page of the Raleigh News and Observer with caskets covered by U.S.flags," Maurice said. "So you're always respectful of what's sacrificed in North America."