The winds of change are blowing at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., and Richard Peddie soon may be swept out the door.
The change involving Peddie may not necessarily have anything to do with the impending hiring of Brian Burke as president and GM of the Leafs -- maybe as soon as late this week -- but it's likely. And Peddie likely is on his way out at the end of the season.
Peddie has been under fire for failed sporting decisions -- primarily the hiring of Rob Babcock and John Ferguson as inexpensive and inexperienced GMs for the Raptors and the Maple Leafs -- and has been put on notice with a changing and more aggressive board of directors. He has hung on by virtue of the financial strength of the company.
However, there are those who look at failed television networks, and other problems within MLSEL and figure the time is right for change.
This won't happen quickly. Peddie has been a marvellous survivor, but time is running out.
THIS AND THAT
Name to know: Erol Uzermeri, the newest board member of MLSEL, and unlike his fellow Teachers' Pension Plan flag wavers, isn't happy just to get a parking pass and dinner at the directors' lounge. He, not chairman Larry Tanenbaum or Peddie, is considered the power broker on the board and not interested in the status quo ... An NHL GM says this about Mats Sundin's agents and their shenanigans: "From my understanding, Mats hasn't even skated yet. So if you sign him in a while, you've got to give him a month to get in hockey shape." In other words, the man who said he wouldn't be a rental player is about to become a rental player ... An old associate of Pierre Lacroix insists the entire Patrick Roy trade in 1995 was staged by Lacroix, Roy's former agent and then Colorado GM ... A tribute to Roy's superb talent: The two teams he won Cups with in Montreal were the weakest Stanley Cup champions in a 20-year period. Just before the 1986 team won, the great Oilers teams won two Cups, preceded by the Islanders of Mike Bossy-Bryan Trottier fame winning four and the Ken Dryden-Guy Lafleur Canadiens winning four ... A quick Grey Cup prediction: Calgary 34, Montreal 29. And if not that, the opposite.
HEAR AND THERE
If Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon combine for 90 points and the Raptors lose at home, that doesn't bode well. You can't be losing home games to teams that are supposed to be below you in the Eastern Conference standings ... Poor Joey Graham is always tagged as the only thing the Raptors have to show for Vince Carter. Had the Raptors drafted Danny Granger instead of Graham, as they should have, then they would have a 20-point-a-game player to show for Carter ... Little known fact: Wendel Clark played his junior hockey on the same team with San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan ... First, the jokes abounded about the suddenly hot Kyle Well-fed. Now, our favourite meal in Edmonton is Dustin Penne ... The old adage that nobody ever gets hurt fighting needs to change. It should now read that nobody ever gets hurt fighting, unless they're fighting Boston's Milan Lucic ... A piece of Grey Cup truth: If John Hufnagel didn't get dumped by Tom Coughlin as offensive co-ordinator of the New York Giants, he never winds up coaching the Stampeders ... the Grey Cup is better when it's played in Western Canada. Just more fun.
SCENE AND HEARD
The Blue Jays were set to make a four-year, $58-million US offer to pitcher A.J. Burnett until the Canadian dollar and the economy crashed.
GM J.P. Ricciardi is telling people he's ready to throw all kinds of money around, but the Jays will be cutting back on their payroll for the coming season ... That was a cheap shot Leafs coach Ron Wilson threw at Carlo Colaiacovo after he was injured by a puck. How do you correlate getting hurt by blocking a shot with being out of shape? ... Theory of a Deadman: Either the halftime entertainment of the Grey Cup or the coach of the San Diego Chargers ... Happy Birthday to Luis Tiant (68), Saku Koivu (34) and Oscar Robertson (70) ... the Bruins' Tim Thomas is the new Dominek Hasek -- and just as difficult to explain.
Now that Bill Parcells has done the impossible and turned around the Miami Dolphins, he has become the J.D. Salinger of the X's-and-O's set. No interviews. No networks. No panels. You can't find the man.
Parcells has not done a single interview this football season. Strange to see a regular media man ducking the media.
No one has bid for the Vanier Cup, the biggest university sports event in Canada. There are those who believe the Vanier Cup and Grey Cup should be married in some kind of football super weekend, which worked last year in Toronto. It won't work that easily without a domed stadium. Which means what? The game will be played next year, we just don't how or where.
AND ANOTHER THING
Steve Molitor is just the latest Canadian to build up a suspect record fighting pushovers and then be sadly exposed when he steps up to fight a real opponent. Can you say Shawn O'Sullivan and Willie DeWit? ... In between sentences, Vesa Toskala let in a bad goal ... And hey, whatever became of Tony Champion?