Maurice knows the real Tlusty

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:03 PM ET

When the concept of targeting Jiri Tlusty first came up more than a month ago within the braintrust of the Carolina Hurricanes, Paul Maurice was not the one who ignited the idea.

But, in the end, it was Maurice’s two cents that certainly helped seal the deal.

It was his backing of Tlusty, both on and off the ice, that helped Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford feel comfortable enough to make the trade with the Maple Leafs Thursday, one which sent Tlusty down to Tobacco Road in exchange for prospect Philippe Paradis.

“Paul did not initiate the process but he had a lot of input part way through it,” Rutherford told Sun Media Thursday night from Carolina. “He had a lot of good things to say about Jiri.”

That’s all well and good. But let’s cut right to the chase.

Given Tlusty’s personal issues — at least the one in which he had a penchant for being photogenic — did Maurice endorse the kid’s character?

“Yes, absolutely,” Rutherford said.

Back in November of 2007, photos taken by Tlusty with his own cellphone, including one in which he was nude, appeared on the web, causing a media frenzy in Toronto. Tlusty subsequently issued a release claiming he used “poor judgment” but the incident continues to dog him, with an entire segment of the Wikipedia site under his name dedicated to the “Nude Photo Incident.”

Keep in mind that Maurice was the coach of the Leafs at that time. He also coached Tlusty with the AHL Marlies. He knows the true makeup of this kid, no matter what the headlines might suggest. And he knows just how much potential Tlusty has, although wringing it out of him might not be so easy.

Scouts honour

Maple Leafs director of amateur scouting Dave Morrison recently was on hand to watch Paradis play for Shawinigan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, a final look at the 18-year-old forward before the deal was pulled off.

“A physical kid who really likes to hit,” Morrison said Thursday night. “And he’s not afraid to go in front of the net, into the tough areas.”

Rutherford acknowledged the Canes might have taken Paradis earlier than many expected at 27th overall in the entry draft this past June, but added that “our staff really liked him.”

So did the Leafs.

“He was on our list,” Morrison said. “We interviewed him and worked him out. I figured he’d go late first or early second round. We certainly didn’t expect him to be around at 50 when we picked next.”

Fergie’s tribute

Call it the late John Ferguson Sr.’s contribution to the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens.

Prior to his passing in 2007, Ferguson briefly spoke with the website classicauctions.net about possibly putting some of his memorabilia on the block, with part of the proceeds going to charity.

That idea has now become reality. Several Ferguson items are up for auction on the website, including a pair of silver Stanley Cup mini-trophies won in 1965 and 1968.

“There is still plenty of memorabilia to go to the grandkids, which at last count is at 10 and counting,” Ferguson’s son, John Jr., said Thursday. “We just thought this was an appropriate time for collectors to get a shot at some of these items, it being the 100th anniversary and all.”

A portion of the incoming funds will go toward causes like prostate cancer research.

Shanny a suit

Good for the NHL for hiring Brendan Shanahan to be its VP of Hockey and Business Development.

The future Hall of Famer is a progressive thinker whose input helped create many of the new post-lockout rules. Shanahan said Thursday he passed up offers in television to accept the NHL post, adding that he was not approached by the NHLPA to potentially help run the union, despite suggestions from friends and players that he would be an ideal candidate.

Our take: why didn’t the union ask him?


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