Ex-Leaf Jackson enters front office

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

The Maple Leafs' off-season housecleaning continued yesterday.

Having jettisoned head coach Pat Quinn and director of amateur scouting Barry Trapp in the past two months, the team has hired former Leaf Jeff Jackson as director of hockey administration.

Jackson's responsibilities will include duties related to collective bargaining, various contract negotiations, salary arbitration and cap management.

"John (Ferguson) and I were both interns at the NHL office about 10 years ago doing arbitration work under Brian Burke," Jackson said yesterday from Vancouver. "I've been out of the game for a while working at a law firm but when this opportunity came I had to take it."

The Leafs also have promoted scout Dave Morrison to director of amateur scouting, replacing Trapp. Morrison will be thrown into the fire immediately at today's entry draft.

"We feel we are well prepared,"Morrison said. "Barring the odd exception, we're looking to take the best player available."

COACHING CAROUSEL

Incoming Leafs head coach Paul Maurice said the hunt for assistant coaches will heat up next week, adding that incumbent Keith Acton will receive "serious consideration."

As for Quinn, the man Maurice replaced behind the Toronto bench, he is believed to be a finalist for the Boston Bruins.

Also in the mix is former Detroit coach Dave Lewis, who met with Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli yesterday in Vancouver.

O'NEILL HEALING NICELY

Coming off shoulder surgery several months ago, Leafs forward Jeff O'Neill said his rehab is going better than expected.

"I definitely think things are ahead of schedule," he said. "I'm still restricted in some of the things I can do but it is progressing day by day."

The improvement has left O'Neill looking forward to the coming season, a far cry from several months ago when he was contemplating retirement.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

The Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes re-signed captain Rod Brind'Amour yesterday to a five-year, $18-million US deal ... Defenceman Rob Blake is said to be closing in on a contract extension with the Colorado Avalanche.


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