Just as the Maple Leafs couldn't buy their way to happiness in the salary cap era, they've found they can't snap their fingers and put together an all-star front office.
Almost all of the best personnel is happily employed elsewhere, and those who are available have a few other options this year with up to 10 teams looking for general managers or coaches:
- Maple Leafs (coach and GM) -- The Leafs have been turned down so far in attempts to talk to big names such as Brian Burke, Doug Wilson and Ken Holland. Jim Rutherford has the green light if asked. They have interviewed Dave Nonis for some kind of special assistant's role as a possible bridge to Burke and there is no shortage of willing candidates, such as Doug Armstrong, with Colin Campbell and others in the shadows.
The latest rumour is that if Burke is lured here, he will bring ex-Sharks' coach Ron Wilson with him, even though Joel Quenneville or Craig Hartsburg would be better suited for this media market.
It is believed the Leafs search team will not conduct interviews over the long weekend.
- Senators (coach) -- Who best to turn Ottawa's waning potential into a Cup? Old-schoolers such as Pat Quinn and Pat Burns, as well as Bob Hartley and newcomer Hartsburg are just some of Bryan Murray's many choices.
- Avalanche (coach) -- Like the federal Liberals, they like alternating Francophone and Anglo leaders behind the bench. Patrick Roy is getting lots of attention this time, but might not want to leave his Quebec junior gig. Assistant Tony Granato is a local favourite, but this is an attractive place for all the big names.
- Sharks (coach) -- Quenneville knows the West well after working in St. Louis and Colorado and Sharks could probably use a lighter touch.
- Panthers (coach) -- Burns, Quinn and Paul Maurice are seen as good fits, while Doug MacLean, who has his fingers in a lot of pies these days, has inquired about his old job.
- Thrashers (coach) -- Don Waddell has just about run out of time. But until he's actually moved elsewhere in the company, no one's sure if one or two jobs will be at stake.
- Lightning (GM and coach) -- The status of Jay Feaster and John Tortorella awaits the completion of the team's sale. However, but no other clubs have asked permission to talk to either of them, yet.
- Blues (GM) -- Larry Pleau is reducing his workload to spend more time with his ailing wife. The Blues already have interviewed Nonis and supposedly are interested in Armstrong.
- Hurricanes (GM) -- Only if Rutherford gets the Leafs job.
- Stars (GM) -- Brett Hull and Les Jackson have had the interim tag attached to them most of the season after taking over for Armstrong, but Stars owner Tom Hicks indicates that he will be bringing them back full time.
- Canucks (coach) -- It now appears that Alan Vigneault will survive the arrival of new GM Mike Gillis.