It's always the same old story

STEVE SIMMONS

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

In three National Hockey League trade deadlines, Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson has shown a fondness for the old.

He traded away a first-round draft pick, two second-round picks, a fourth and a fifth for Brian Leetch, 36, Yanic Perreault, 36 next month, Luke Richardson, 37. and Ron Francis, 41.

This is what Ferguson calls a youth movement.

Leetch played all of 15 games for Toronto, Richardson lasted 21, Francis played just 12 and Perreault will finish out this season before re-signing in Phoenix in the summer.

Five draft picks squandered with nothing much but old news to show for him.

And this is without mentioning deadline deals for Calle Johansson, then retired and now retired, and one for Alexander Suglobov, who is being paid NHL money and has contributed one goal for the Marlies this season, none for the Leafs.

Encouraging and enlightening, this is not.

THIS AND THAT: If the number reported is correct, and Ryan Smyth and the Edmonton Oilers were just $100,000 (all terms US) a year apart -- $50,000 after taxes -- then Smyth is a fool for not relenting. If it meant that much to him to remain an Oiler, he could have done so easily ... Yes, the Oilers got a first-round pick and two former first-round picks for Smyth, but the real value from the trade will come in how GM Kevin Lowe chooses to spend the $5 million he would have spent on Captain Canada. If the money isn't used appropriately, the Oilers could end up with little to show for Smyth ... People who say the Boston Bruins got next to nothing in last season's trading of Joe Thornton fail to realize that without Thornton gone, the Bruins couldn't have signed Marc Savard, who as of yesterday was out-scoring last season's leading scorer ... If the Montreal Canadiens don't make the playoffs, blame it on GM Bob Gainey. He needed a goalie at the deadline and failed to come up with a live one ... One more Ferguson item. His free agents signings from the summer of 2005: Jason Allison, out of hockey; Eric Lindros, having a dismal season in Dallas; Alex Khavanov, defenceman, Swiss Hockey League.

HEAR AND THERE: Damon Allen is putting on a happy face. And what choice does he have? He says he is okay with fighting for the No. 1 quarterbacking job with the Argonauts. Imagine telling Dan Marino or Brett Favre they would have to fight for the No. 1 job? Imagine the reaction ... Wonder what the Los Angeles Angels think of paying $50 million for Gary Matthews Jr. after learning human growth hormone was being delivered to his house ... All of this is purely coincidental: Since joining the San Francisco Giants, Barry Bonds' jersey size has gone to 52 from 42 and his shoe size has gone to 13 from 10 1/2. But don't be surprised if something else shrunk along the way ... If Larry Murphy is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, shouldn't Doug Wilson be also? I think Wilson was the better player and he is not doing badly as a GM in San Jose either.

SCENE AND HEARD: Things you just don't want to wake up to: Tales of Tommy Lasorda and a hooker and news that Greg Maddux, just for fun, sometimes urinates on rookies in the shower ... Standardbred horses on drugs? Who knew? ... First the Detroit Red Wings tried to get Owen Nolan. Then they traded for Todd Bertuzzi. Apparently, their goal is to determine how quickly they can poison their environment ... Sheldon Souray would love to leave the Canadiens for Los Angeles to be closer to his daughter, with just one problem. Word around is Kings GM Dean Lombardi and coach Marc Crawford don't care much for Souray ... Those who think Darcy Tucker's new contract is a bargain when compared with Smyth money don't take this into account: Smyth has scored 34 even-strength goals in the past two seasons. Tucker has 16 even-strength goals in that time and is a minus-25.

AND ANOTHER THING: The hard part for the Raptors now: Living up to their own press clippings. They are getting love from all over the NBA. They can't let it go to their heads ... How is this for a statement? Jake Plummer would rather retire than play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ... Isn't this typical NHL? Brian Burke writes a rather frank trade deadline diary for USA Today and other teams are bitching to him about being too revealing ... It's down to two: Either Steve Nash or best friend Dirk Nowitzki wins the MVP in the NBA ... And hey, whatever became of Gary "Suitcase" Smith?


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