No surprises for No. 14

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

Despite a strong rumour among the reuniting 1967 Maple Leafs, the current management doesn't plan to surprise Dave Keon by retiring his No. 14 tomorrow night at the Air Canada Centre.

CEO Richard Peddie said yesterday the last thing he wants to do is ruffle Keon in a slap-dash ceremony after two decades of work to get him at a team-sponsored event.

The policy of honouring numbers versus retiring them is one of Keon's beefs amid years of acrimony, but Peddie says Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., is sensitive to patching relations with Keon on a timetable agreeable to both.

"It's baby steps ... we're reconciling some differences," Peddie said yesterday.

"We're not putting pressure on any of these guys, we're not commercializing the event. We're just trying to put on a first-class show as our way of saying thanks."

As for a future change in team policy, given most fans want a retired number system such as the Montreal Canadiens," Peddie said. "Let's just get through Saturday night first."

The entire Cup team -- minus the late Punch Imlach, Tim Horton and Terry Sawchuk, the vacationing Eddie Shack and ailing Milan Marcetta -- will be introduced individually in vintage jerseys at centre ice before the game against the Edmonton OIlers.

A video about the team's inspiring Cup run will be voiced by Alex Trebek (the Jeopardy! host did the original film version as a young broadcaster in the 1960s) and a team picture will be re-created at centre before '67 captain George Armstrong drops the ceremonial puck.

MLSEL isn't shying away from the 40th anniversary, which represents the second-longest Cup drought in NHL history.

"It would've been impossible, because the media looks for anniversaries like this," Peddie said.

"We think it's a great story. Forty years ago, a team lost 10 straight games during the regular season and went on to beat some (favoured) teams to win a Cup. That's a good role model, not only for our players, but for our management and even our owners."


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