Maple Leafs told hands off Muckler until at least July 4

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

There's an off-ice Battle of Ontario brewing over former Senators GM John Muckler, the Sun has learned.

League sources confirmed yesterday the Maple Leafs have asked the Senators for permission to speak with to 73-year-old Muckler about an advisory role with the club, but they've been put on hold.

Sources say Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has informed the Leafs they can't interview Muckler until July 4 because he doesn't want Muckler playing any role in GM John Ferguson Jr.'s decisions on the unrestricted free agent market this weekend.

Ideally, the Leafs would like to bring somebody like Muckler in to help Ferguson when it comes to signing players and making trades.

BRUINS INTERESTED, TOO

The Leafs spoke with former Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman about the position, but he politely declined.

The Leafs aren't the only team that has asked to speak to Muckler. It's believed Bruins GM and former Senators assistant GM Peter Chiarelli, who fired assistant GM Jeff Gorton in Boston this week, also wants to speak to Muckler to see if he'd be interested in working with the Bruins in an advisory role.

Whether the Leafs or Bruins need permission to speak with Muckler in open to debate. After refusing to stay on in an advisory role when he was fired by the Senators on June 18, Muckler was given a $1.5-million payout by Melnyk and was told he could pursue other opportunities.

This isn't the first time Melnyk has put somebody on hold because of free agency.

Last summer, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman held an arbitration hearing to settle a dispute between the Senators and Bruins over Chiarelli. The Senators accused the Bruins of tampering with Chiarelli and he wasn't allowed to leave Ottawa to start his new job with Boston until mid-July.

Meanwhile, the Senators could announce today the hiring of Rangers scout Tim Murray as their assistant GM.


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