Playoffs showing Maurice everything his team lacks

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

For all his coaching talent and obvious charm, Paul Maurice must watch every night on television and see what his Maple Leafs don't have.

They don't have youth and they don't have speed and they don't have big-time goaltending. They don't have what's winning in these Stanley Cup playoffs.

One night of seeing the Buffalo Sabres shows that. One night of viewing the Anaheim Mighty Ducks indicates just how much the Leafs roster must change to be considered a contender.

Nine of the top-10 scorers in the playoffs are 30 years old or younger. The top four scorers on the Leafs last season were all over 30. The best forward, Mats Sundin, will be 36 next season.

Maurice wants to play an up-tempo game, featuring speed and aggressive forechecking: To do so, the Leafs roster must be revamped and John Ferguson must make the right additions.

If not, as was shown in the past, Maurice can miss the playoffs in five of eight seasons as he did in Carolina. As Al Arbour once confessed, the secret to good coaching is good players.

THIS AND THAT

Biggest game of the season for the Leafs in Montreal and someone decided that rookie Alexsander Suglobov should be playing on Sundin's wing. And you wonder why the captain isn't entirely happy with the Leafs ... Ferguson, for the record, loudly, angrily and vehemently denies he was going to dock Sundin a day's pay had he come back a day late from the Olympics but a whole lot of Swedish hockey players heard differently ... The best reason to be excited about the Raptors: Bryan Colangelo's Phoenix Suns are still alive and well in the NBA playoffs, with all kinds of steals on the roster ... Tough time to be Kent Austin, the Argos' offensive coordinator. He has to have a new offence ready, just in case Ricky Williams ends up signing in Toronto .... Greg Maddux stole a base yesterday and the pitcher on the mound was C. Young, but not Cy ... With Cristobal Huet, Martin Gerber and David Aebischer all available in free agency, and J-S Giguere, Evgeni Nabakov and Nikolai Khabibulin likely on the trade market, will anyone find a place for Ed Belfour next season? And at what price?

HEAR AND THERE

Joe Thornton is 26. Patrick Marleau is 26. Jonathan Cheechoo is 25. The San Jose Sharks are going to be around for a while ... Even Wayne Gretzky would have to admit now he made a mistake leaving Eric Staal off the Canadian Olympic team ... Great time to want to be an NHL GM: There are openings in Boston, Colorado, Long Island and Pittsburgh ... Guess the Ottawa Senators can't blame Marian Hossa for this playoff meltdown ... Tough year for Don Waddell. He promised the playoffs for the Atlanta Thrashers and missed out. He somehow picked Robert Esche and John Grahame ahead of Ryan Miller as U.S. Olympic team goalie ... Hated to see Orlando Hudson go but like the entire Troy Glaus package with the Blue Jays. The bat. The glove. The edge and the anger ... Dustin McGowan is only 24 years old but so far the Jays have had him starting, relieving, starting, relieving and now starting in their organization. Can you say confused? ... New definition for pulling the shoot: He pulled a Kobe.

SCENE AND HEARD

Went to dinner once with Floyd Patterson, the former heavyweight champion, who passed away the other day. He was confused when a waitress brought tangerines to our table. "What's that?" Patterson asked his colleague Howie Albert. "Tangerines, Floyd," Albert answered. "What's that?" Patterson repeated. "Little oranges Floyd," trying to calm him down. Turns out, a few months later Patterson was yet another fighter diagnosed with brain damage ... Still going strong though is George Chuvalo, who was honoured at a $500-a-plate dinner this week. Chuvalo acknowledged all kinds of people but slipped twice when he neglected to recognize former manager Irving Ungerman and Dr. Joe Greenberg. Without Ungerman and Greenberg, you'd probably never heard of Chuvalo ... My favourite sporting typos are Joffrey Lupul and Jimy Williams ... Pierre Lacroix must have fired himself as GM of the Colorado Avalanche after watching his own signings, Patrice Brisebois and Pierre Turgeon, in the playoffs ... Vince Carter can't escape his own reputation when scrubs like Udonis Haslem are poking fun at his lack of toughness on the court during playoff games.

AND ANOTHER THING

Never mind the Whizzinator jokes or the obvious provincial references, Onterrio Smith can flat out play. The guy had a 5.4 rushing average one year in Minnesota. If he's got his head on straight in Winnipeg -- a big if -- he will tear up the CFL ... If Richard Peddie is on a one-year contract and continuously says he is "year to year," how come other MLSEL people insist he's signed up until 2009 ... A reason to admire Richard Jefferson, the New Jersey forward: His dog is named Stewie, after the Family Guy character ... The good new is, two of J.P. Ricciardi's first round draft picks are starting for the Blue Jays. The bad news is, their names are Russ Adams and Aaron Hill ... This is how disturbing Barry Bonds has become for professional sport: Jesse Gatlin breaks the 100 metres record and nobody bothers to wait for the steroid test ... If you're an NHL owner, and you see Scott Niedermayer, who didn't go to the Olympics, making this kind of playoff impact and Dominik Hasek, who did play in the Olympics, nowhere to be found for the playoffs, how anxious are you to let your better players play in the Games of 2010 ...

And hey, whatever became of Steven Rice?


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