JFJ finds his way to San Jose

LANCE HORNBY and STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

Six months after being fired by the Maple Leafs -- and getting much of the blame for the diminished state of the team -- John Ferguson Jr. has another full-time job in the NHL.

Ferguson was named by the San Jose Sharks as director of pro scouting last night. His late father worked 11 years for San Jose prior to his passing in 2007.

Ferguson Jr., 41, was vice-president and general manager of the Leafs for four years. After 2003-04 when the team had 103 points, a steady decline ensued with the Leafs missing the playoffs three consecutive years.

Ferguson, who had given big money, no-trade contracts to players such as Bryan McCabe, Darcy Tucker and Mats Sundin, was dismissed in late January and replaced by Cliff Fletcher, who hired ex-Sharks coach Ron Wilson to replace Paul Maurice.

NO FAMILY TIES

Leafs rookie forward Tim Stapleton said he has been asked at least five times during training camp if he is related to former Chicago Blackhawks great Pat (Whitey) Stapleton. Tim is from La Grange, Il., not far from the Windy City, but they are not related.

"I'm just going to start telling people 'yes, I'm related,' " Stapleton said with a laugh. "My dad never even played hockey."

A GILMOUR GUY

Waterloo native John Mitchell, who is attempting to crack the Leafs lineup, said he grew up a Toronto fan and especially of former blue-and-white great Doug Gilmour, who is now an assistant coach with the Marlies.

"I used to wear 93 and tuck my jersey in and play with a straight-blade stick when I was kid, just like him," Mitchell said.


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