May 11, 2006
Belfour's agent shrugs it off
By LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

Ed Belfour is at a Dallas clinic specializing in recuperating back surgery patients while his agent shrugged off news that the Maple Leafs are looking in other directions for goaltending help.

Ron Salcer said yesterday he has had "no discussions" yet with Leafs general manager John Ferguson regarding Belfour's $4.52-million US contract option either being picked up or severed by a $1.5-million termination clause. In an interview last week, Ferguson said he was going to pick up Mikael Tellqvist's $589,000 option to battle Jean-Sebastien Aubin at training camp, and that the team would be active in the free agent market for a goalie after July 1. At no time did Ferguson mention Belfour, indicating he is leaning towards the buyout route.

"We can only control our end of things and Ed is doing very well in his recovery," Salcer said. "John and I did not schedule (a specific time) to talk at the end of the season, but I would never talk to other teams while Ed is under contract to Toronto."

Salcer reiterated that last month's surgery to repair a ruptured disc went well and that the treatment in Dallas should speed up the 41-year-old's recovery by camp.

"Everyone (doctors, Belfour and the Leafs) were in agreement that there are first-class people working at this facility," Salcer said.

If the Leafs do go the free- agent avenue, one of Belfour's two predecessors as the Leafs' No. 1 goalie will be on the market. Felix Potvin, 35 and inactive all of 2005-06, intends to return to the NHL.

"Felix has not decided to retire in any way," agent Jay Fee said yesterday. "He has begun a hard summer of work and seeing what options are out there for him in the coming seasons."

Curtis Joseph, whose bitter departure from the Leafs in 2002 opened the door for Belfour, could change teams, but agent Don Meehan said yesterday that he has already had one promising discussion with Phoenix general manager Mike Barnett about a return to the Coyotes and will have another once Barnett gets back from Team Canada duties at the world championships in Latvia.

"He has every intention of going back there, if (money and term) can be worked out," Meehan said, though he added Joseph would not feel awkward talking to the Leafs in July if he goes on the market.

Other potential free agent goalies this summer are Cristobal Huet and Dwayne Roloson (likely to stay with their respective teams) and Martin Gerber.


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