Daze of our lives

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

Scribes documenting the day-to-day drama of the Maple Leafs often feel as if they are writers for a Hollywood soap opera.

At times, that's exactly what covering this team is like.

The boardroom brouhahas, for example, might make for a perfect sequel for the one-time television series Dynasty with president Richard Peddie and board chairman Larry Tanenbaum cast as chief rivals.

Those differences of opinion at the corporate level trickle right down to the hockey department and general manager John Ferguson.

Reportedly promised a contract extension back in June, Ferguson saw that potential offer removed, meaning his deal will run out at the end of the season. Ferguson is on record as saying he is "not afraid" of free agency, referring to the potential of being cast adrift next summer.

Ferguson did address the team's weaknesses by bringing in flashy Jason Blake to play on the flank of captain Mats Sundin and acquiring goalie Vesa Toskala from San Jose to augment fan scapegoat Andrew Raycroft between the pipes.

Forward Mark Bell came over in the Toskala deal and immediately made headlines when he pleaded no contest to drunken driving and hit-and-run charges stemming from an incident one year ago near San Jose. The Leafs were shocked when commissioner Gary Bettman subsequently slapped Bell with a 15-game suspension.

Less than two weeks after the Bettman decision, the team suffered yet another blow when diminutive Kyle Wellwood, pencilled in as the No. 2 centre, was forced to undergo groin surgery. Both he and Bell will be unavailable when the season starts.

Crime. Injuries. Big business feuds.

And the puck hasn't even dropped on the 2007-08 regular season yet.


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