Net blunders stinging Leafs

STEVE SIMMONSSUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

Of all the perceived disasters John Ferguson left behind, none will rival the threads of mismanagement and waste of money that his goaltending decisions have produced.

Ferguson used a first-round pick to select Tuukka Rask, who never played a game for the Maple Leafs. He traded Rask to Boston for Andrew Raycroft, who later was released by the Leafs. Before that, he had to buy out Ed Belfour of an ill-advised contract that was signed without medically checking out the goalie.

To replace Raycroft, Ferguson traded a first pick (ninth overall), plus a second and a fourth to San Jose and acquired Vesa Toskala, he of the suddenly questionable practice habits.

So, to recap: The Leafs would be at least four depth players deeper with 1) maybe local centre Andrew Cogliano instead of Rask; 2) a 2007 first- round pick, perhaps Brandon Sutter; 3) the player chosen with the 44th pick in 2007, which was one choice after Montreal took defenceman P.K. Subban; and, 4) a fourth- round choice from this year. They would be $5 million US or more ahead, had they not had to buyout Belfour and eat the majority of the contract of minor-leaguer Mark Bell, who was forced on them as part of the Toskala deal.

And you wonder why Brian Burke's job is so damn complicated.

THIS AND THAT

If Burke and Ron Wilson have a problem with Toskala's work ethic, they should tell the goalie face-to-face, not announce it at a charity dinner or in the daily media scrums with the coach. You can't preach team and loyalty and then slag a guy when he is not looking, even if what they're saying happens to be true ... Quietly, Blue Jays' waste Russ Adams was let go this week but his draft selection lingers. Because the Jays believed in the weak-armed Adams, they passed on sure-thing shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in a later draft , even when their own scouts were urging the selection ... The question isn't: Is Chris Bosh leaving? The question should be: Considering the wonky and soft state of the Raptors, why would he stay? ... Jim Rome doesn't do it for me often, but he had me laughing out loud on radio this week with his take on Michael Phelps and the bong. Like, why would you want to smoke with a guy with that kind of lung capacity? ... Brad Pitt is in line to play Billy Beane in the coming baseball movie, Moneyball. So who plays J.P. Ricciardi? A wise-ass like Al Pacino? ... So long, Milt Stegall, and thanks for the memories ... The NFL is nothing but a copy-cat league: Tiny guy Darren Sproles runs wild for the San Diego Chargers and suddenly the CFL's two most exciting players -- Dominique Dorsey and Stefan Logan -- are headed south.

HEAR AND THERE

There can be no candy coating how huge the downhill win by Calgary's John Kucera was yesterday at Val D'Isere, France. This was an enormous accomplishment on its own, but especially significant considering this is the one-year-to-Vancouver week. By winning, Kucera takes tremendous pressure off a Canadian ski team having a disappointing World Cup season to date ... You can have your Red Sox-Yankees or Red Wings-Sharks, but the best rivalry right now in sports for me is Lakers-Celtics ... Barry Bonds already is guilty of perjury in the court of public opinion ... It is now official: At $17.5 million a year, Bud Selig is the most overpaid player in baseball ... Why would the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame induct Mike Weir now, in the midst of his career? What's next? Alex Ovechkin in the Hockey Hall while he still is playing for Washington? ... Shouldn't all those people screaming about Joe Torre's book, The Yankee Years, read it before trashing it? ... Department of Burke Isn't Perfect: He signed Brendan Morrison as a free agent in Anaheim this past summer. Morrison hasn't helped the Ducks and has been a healthy scratch of late ... My Canadian Olympic hockey team coaching staff would have Mike Babcock heading a staff of Lindy Ruff, Claude Julien and Ken Hitchcock ... So, when the Pittsburgh Steelers played a pre-season game at the Rogers Centre, wonder if anyone said: That team is going to win the Super Bowl.

SCENE AND HEARD

There are Islanders fans out there. I know this for a face because many of them responded to the suggestion here last week that John Tavares pass on the Islanders if he is selected by them. I applaud their loyalty. But I stand by the notion. If it were me, I wouldn't go. And, no, this has nothing to do with wanting Tavares in Toronto and everything to do with the sorry state of the Islanders franchise, arena and business ... From sports writer Larry Fitzgerald's Super Bowl game story: "The biggest surprise for me was how megastar receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr., who broke Jerry Rice's single season playoff record in helping the Cardinals average 31 points a game in the playoffs, was held in check for three quarters." Funny, most of us feel the same way watching our kids play, without the megastar reference ... Fitzgerald, by the way, at 25, will rival Rice as the greatest receiver to ever play ... Bosh is a legitimate NBA all-star. LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are from a different planet altogether. They are all-time great, special players. Bosh can't come close to owning the game the way they do.

AND ANOTHER THING

The Blue Jays' signing of 39-year-old career loser Ken Takahashi raised at least one question: Wasn't Tomo Ohka available? ... Why don't the Jays do the noble thing now, fire the detested GM Ricciardi and replace him with boy wonder Alex Anthopoulos, before Anthopoulos ends up running another big league club ... This is a fight waiting to happen: According to my friends at ESPN, 82% of NHL players want to continue with NHL participation in the Olympics. Wonder what league commissioner Kevin (All is Well) Bacon thinks of that ... Also part of the ESPN poll: Kerry Fraser ran away with the best referee nod ... Happy birthday to Dino Ciccarelli (49), Jim (The Anvil) Neidhart (54), Robert Klein (67), Kirk Muller (43) and my youngest son, Michael ... And hey, whatever became of Jimmy Roberts?

STEVE.SIMMONS@SUNMEDIA.CA


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