Belfour's contract a real boondoggle

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

The Ed Belfour contract -- two years, one lockout and one back surgery ago -- continues to haunt John Ferguson, the man who negotiated the troubling deal.

Never mind the issues of health or age, but the idea that the Maple Leafs gave Belfour both an option on a third year with a buyout and a no-trade arrangement for a goalie who turns 41 next month showed a lack of foresight on Ferguson's behalf.

The buyout, should the Leafs keep Belfour for the rest of the season and not bring him back, will count for $1.5 million against their salary cap next season.

Trading Belfour now would be a legitimate option considering where the Leafs are, except he won't agree to go anywhere without assuring his whereabouts for next season.

In other words, it costs to keep him and costs to move him. Unless Ferguson can find a team desperate enough -- like the Edmonton Oilers -- to take Belfour and immediately sign him for another season.

This is only Belfour's third losing season of his career. Each of them have come in a season with a contract expiring.

A coach who knows Belfour inside out insists the goalie doesn't deal with the unknown.

This season for him has been about as unknown as it can get.

THIS AND THAT

Jason Allison has a pain in his neck, which is somewhat ironic, because that's the way most of his teammates perceive him ... We all but killed Richard Peddie for the Rob Babcock fiasco so in fairness we have to offer kudos for the appointment of Bryan Colangelo, no matter who orchestrated the Raptors hire ... Could Pat Quinn be having a worse year? No Olympic medal, probably out of the playoffs for the first time as Leaf coach, probably out of a job ... Say this for Tie Domi, who played his 1001st NHL game last night: In 10 years as a Leaf, he's missed fewer than 40 games. Nik Antropov has played 302 games for the Leafs, but has missed 158 ... If you're Ferguson, do you sign defenceman Bryan McCabe for $5 million or wait for July and see if you can sign Zdeno Chara for upward of $7 million? You can build a winner around Chara. Can you build a winner around the nervous McCabe? ... Misdirected rumours have Curtis Joseph being dealt back to Edmonton, but if that's so, why are Oilers people -- and lots of them -- telling almost everyone they are looking elsewhere for a goalie?

HERE AND THERE

To put Cindy Klassen's Olympic medal haul in some kind of perspective, consider this: The five podium finishes in Turin were more medals than Canada won as a country in 14 other Winter Games from 1920 to 1984 ... Wayne Gretzky owes Klassen a dinner or something. Nobody did more to take the heat off a failed Team Canada than Klassen's almost daily success ... Only four athletes in history have won medals in the Winter and Summer Olympics but only one, the remarkable Clara Hughes, has more than one in each ... Didn't meet a single Italian in Turin who seemed to care that Frank Catalanotto was playing for Italy in the World Baseball Classic, but then again didn't meet a single resident in Turin who seemed to care much about anything ... Leftovers from the Olympic hockey tournament: Ilya Kovalchuk may be the most selfish player in hockey. Passing for him is never an option .... Young Czechs Ales Hemsky of Edmonton and David Vyborny of Columbus are much better players than anyone talks about ... There are lots of little impressive elements to Shane Doan's game that statistics do not reveal.

SCENE AND HEARD

I would be all in favour of Toronto's world junior championship bid if it wasn't fronted by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. The way they tend to do business, they'd overprice the juniors and turn it into a rich guy's event ... If it's true and the NHL won't be playing hockey in the Olympics after 2010, why not turn the world juniors into the Olympic tournament every four years. Soccer can play under-22 at the Olympics. Why not hockey under 20? ... Bengt Gustafsson threw a game and won a gold medal. Still doesn't seem right ... This is why we've waited all these years for the World Baseball Classic: Roger Clemens starting Friday for the United States against South Africa ... The phony draw of the WBC has the United States on one side and Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and just about anyone else who can play on the other side ... Of course Jeremy Wotherspoon won a speed skating medal yesterday. It wasn't an Olympic race.

AND ANOTHER THING

The disappearance of Lonie Glieberman from the Ottawa football scene means the Renegades are now simply pathetic rather than just amusing ... John Tortorella is the new Bob Pulford of hockey. When he goes into a bar, they cancel happy hour ... Winnipeg is going heavy after free agent defensive back, Richard Karikari. What the Bombers want is to commit Karikari ... Some things are meant to be: Teemu Selanne should be playing on Saku Koivu's wing ... I hate when this happens to a childhood hero: Bjorn Borg is auctioning off his Wimbledon trophies and two racquets in search of financial security ... Still can't believe Cinderella Man wasn't nominated for Best Picture. Thought it was a better boxing flick than Million Dollar Baby, which won the Academy Award ... Quiet smarts: Hamilton signed a good one in running back Anthony Davis, an Indianapolis Colts cut who should star in the CFL... The fight in the NFL isn't owner vs. player. It's owner vs. owner. The players are a sideshow to the exchange of money ... Three ex-Jays -- Buck Martinez (USA), Ernie Whitt (Canada) and Luis Sojo (Venezuela) -- are managing WBC teams ... And hey, whatever became of Don Beaupre?


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