Ferguson in the good books

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

Richard Peddie likes what he sees.

So, too, does the entire board of directors of Maple Leaf Sports &Entertainment Ltd., which has enjoyed the up-tempo wide-open style adopted by the Leafs through the first 12 days of the season.

Despite the team's encouraging start, however, Peddie continues to maintain there is no urgency to come to immediate terms on a contract extension with general manager John Ferguson.

Critics insist Ferguson, whose deal runs out at the end of this season, is unfairly being made a lame-duck GM who is being hung out to dry because MLSEL has yet to lock him up long-term.

It's a claim Peddie understandably does not agree with.

"We'll get to (Ferguson's contract situation) at the appropriate time," Peddie said yesterday. "John's not going anywhere.

"We really like the job John, Paul (Maurice) and the rest of the coaches and players have done to this point. It has been very entertaining.

"Remember this, though. It's only been six games."

Ferguson, meanwhile, has his own contract issues to address -- specifically how to keep Darcy Tucker around past this season. Talks between Ferguson and Tucker's handlers concerning a potential long-term deal are ongoing.

"I know both sides share a preference to keep any negotiations private," Ferguson said.

THE DOCTORS OFFICE

Forward Ben Ondrus returned to practice yesterday for the first time since training camp.

"It's just nice to be back," Ondrus said, referring to the contusion that kept him sidelined. "It was hard to watch the guys out there but they've been doing well."

Nik Antropov, meanwhile, skated prior to practice but said he isn't ready to rejoin his teammates. Antropov has been suffering from an ankle sprain.

"We didn't set any timetable yet but I hope it is soon," Antropov said. "It feels a lot better than it even did three days ago.

"I've skate three times and each time it feels better.I'm going to be skating every day from now on."


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