Kirke glad people care

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

Gord Kirke isn't seeking the spotlight but he fully is aware that it's going to find him in the coming months.

Hired by the Maple Leafs in January to be part of a search team for a general manager and president, the Toronto-based sports lawyer knows the final decision he makes in conjunction with interim general manager Cliff Fletcher and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. president Richard Peddie will be scrutinized heavily.

"It's a good pressure, and I would not like it if nobody cared," Kirke said. "Having been a lifelong Leafs fan, I relish the chance to help make a difference."

The search process has started, but it is in the infancy stages. That has not stopped the rumour mill from churning out the names of Brian Burke, Colin Campbell, Ken Holland and Jim Rutherford as frontrunners for the job. The search is expected to go into overdrive once the season ends.

Back-to-back woes

After the Leafs play in Buffalo tonight, they get the New York Islanders at home tomorrow, and recent history shows the Leafs stand a good chance of losing.

The next two games mark the 10th time (of 13) this season that the Leafs play on successive nights. In their initial nine attempts in the second of back-to-back matches, the Leafs have lost eight times, including the past six in regulation. In the first game, Toronto has four wins, three regulation losses and two overtime losses.

FERGUSON ON TV

Not known for being publicly verbose when he was the Leafs' general manager, John Ferguson has been hired by TSN as a guest analyst as the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline approaches. Ferguson is scheduled to be part of three shows, starting tonight when he appears with James Duthie during the second intermission of the Leafs-Sabres game.

In a release, Ferguson was quoted as saying: "I made many trades over 10 deadlines in management with St. Louis and Toronto. I look forward to plying a new trade with TSN this deadline."


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