Peddie failed Leafs miserably

STEVE SIMMONS

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

The first letter needs to be changed. Richard Peddie generously acknowledged that "We Failed."

He really should have said that "He Failed."

The notion that Peddie has come to grips with the Maple Leafs' failure of three seasons without post-season, a crumbling roster and an organization almost devoid of prospects, finally is apparent to the CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.

This coming from the man who: a) hired John Ferguson Jr.; b) promised him a contract extension last June; c) reneged on his agreement when he couldn't get approval; d) deeply believed in everything Ferguson did; e) got in the way of negotiations that would have brought Scott Bowman to the Leafs last summer; f) and then later admitted hiring Ferguson was a mistake.

The carnage of that series of decisions is evident now. The Leafs, Peddie admits, are in bleak shape.

None of the potential reshaping of the past two months came to be: There will be no lottery pick for the Leafs barring a trade. There is no bevy of draft picks to rely on. This is a weak free-agent class.

"We," being the entire Leafs organization, failed miserably. Led, all the way, by "He," Richard Peddie.

THIS AND THAT

If I'm Cliff Fletcher, assuming his successor is not on the job come June, I'm dangling either Alex Steen or Matt Stajan along with my first-round pick in an attempt to pry the pick that will bring Steven Stamkos to Toronto. Third-line players are disposable. Franchise players are almost impossible to acquire ... You could argue, as some have, that Paul Maurice's second season coaching the Leafs was far more disturbing than the first. When you consider the great years from Mats Sundin, Nik Antropov and Vesa Toskala, a favourable schedule with almost no travel, the overall weakness of the Eastern Conference, and the number of backup goalies the Leafs faced, their 80-something-point finish shouldn't be lost in their late and semi-heroic playoff run ... From the night Steve Moore had his career ended, it sure seemed apparent that Marc Crawford played a role in Todd Bertuzzi's despicable on-ice assault. All you had to witness was his smirk from the bench to realize his approval. But there wasn't enough evidence for the NHL to suspend him. And now that Bertuzzi is suing his former coach, attempting to shift the blame for the Moore assault, there may not be enough evidence to proceed further. So to recap, Moore is suing Bertuzzi and including Crawford in the action; Bertuzzi and the Canucks have filed papers against each other; and Bertuzzi is suing Crawford. And why doesn't Gary Bettman get more involved to find the right figure to make all this go away.

HEAR AND THERE

The first six seasons of J.P. Ricciardi and the last six seasons of Gord Ash as Blue Jays GM are almost identical: Ricciardi has 481 wins, Ash had 485 in the same number of years. In Ash's best season, the Jays were 88-74. In Ricciardi's best season, the Jays were 87-75. For the record, the Jays' best players, Roy Halladay, Vernon Wells and Alex Rios, are leftovers of the Ash era ... The boring old question has to be asked again: How do the Blue Jays avoid finishing anything but third in the AL East? ... Not enough has been said about the World Baseball Classic coming to Toronto next March. This is big. In one four-country bracket, you've could have Erik Bedard, Jeff Francis and Rich Harden pitching for Canada, Johan Santana, Felix Hernandez and Carlos Zambrano pitching for Venezuela and Josh Beckett, Jake Peavy, C.C. Sabathia and maybe Halladay pitching for the U.S. And when I Googled "Italian Pitchers" yesterday, the first thing that came up was ceramic and hand-painted ... The Canadian lineup for the World Classic should have Russell Martin catching, Justin Morneau at first base, Pete Orr at second base and an outfield that includes Jason Bay and Matt Stairs.

SCENE AND HEARD

The ever-officious NFL, apparently more worried about split ends than tight ends, is seriously considering banning long hair for the coming season. Like they don't have anything better to spend their time on ... Brad Boyes is the only Leafs draft pick of the past 22 years to hit the 40-goal mark in an NHL season. And what do they have to show for him? Expensive settlement payments for Owen Nolan ... Even when you try and take Jose Canseco seriously, you can't ... My three favourite basketball players: Jason Rich, Jason Richards and Jason Richardson ... I must have missed this: But when did China become a curling powerhouse?

AND ANOTHER THING

While Stamkos clearly is the forward to covet, there is much debate among scouts as to which junior defenceman will flourish in the NHL. There is a variance of opinion on Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo and Zach Bogosian about who should go 2-3-4 in the NHL draft ... Two words to say about Maurice, soon to be the ex-coach of the Leafs: Class act ... If I die, I want Peter Worthington doing the eulogy. No one has ever been eulogized with more dignity, humour and accuracy than our friend George Gross was on Thursday afternoon ... All of those years of living off Barry Bonds and his performance-enhanced accomplishments, isn't is just a little contradictory of the San Francisco Giants taking down any reference to Bonds at their stadium? ... Yes, Phil Kessel's goal was offside, but so what, the entire Leafs season was offside ... Wrestlemania, like most things in life, ain't what it used to be ... If Stephen Curry hasn't made you a Davidson fan, check your pulse. You may not have one ... And hey, whatever became of King Kong Bundy?


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