February 24, 2008
Trader Cliff staying put
When the Maple Leafs depart on their week-long trip to Ottawa, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Washington later today, general manager Cliff Fletcher and his braintrust will remain behind in Toronto.
With the trade deadline coming up on Tuesday, Fletcher has opted to set up shop at the team's Air Canada Centre offices rather than take the entire hockey department entourage on the road.
"I prefer to work in a comfortable setting like that instead of a hotel room," said Fletcher. "All the pro scouts have come into town."
The four-game trip will see the Leafs meet the Senators tomorrow, the Panthers Wednesday, the Lightning Friday and the Capitals Saturday.
The Leafs will spend the trade deadline Tuesday in sunny Fort Lauderdale.
Mats Sundin evidently isn't just sick over questions about his future.
A flu-like illness is running through the Maple Leafs' lineup. Bryan McCabe and Sundin have been the worst hit but several others are hacking, coughing, sniffling or getting the tummy rolls. "It's not the flu. It's a lot of strep issues. Everyone's going through it and if they haven't they will," head coach Paul Maurice said.
"Nobody's out with it but five hours from now guys could come in and be sicker or come back and say, hey, I'm fine. We've got a bunch of guys playing who are ill but it can't be an excuse for your performance."
Sundin probably shouldn't have played in the 5-1 loss Thursday. "Mats was quite sick (against Buffalo) and could've come out but we were already down four forwards with injuries. He's feeling better," Maurice said after yesterday's morning skate.
Conspiracy theorists have advanced the notion that they weren't at practice because a trade is immiment. When Maurice was asked about the theory, he laughed.
"You'd be wrong. Give him a kiss and see how you feel in a couple of days," he said.