The National Hockey League has fined the Maple Leafs for “inappropriate public comments” made by coach Ron Wilson about pending free agents Daniel and Henrik Sedin prior to the opening of the market on July 1.
During an interview with the FAN-590 on June 30, Wilson suggested that the Leafs planned to pursue the Sedin twins when they became eligible for unrestricted free agency at noon the following day.
The twins were still property of the Vancouver Canucks at the time of the incident and were inked to matching long-term contracts by Canucks GM Mike Gillis just before the market opened.
But deputy commissioner Bill Daly added there was no further evidence that Wilson or general manager Brian Burke took any other measures to woo the Sedins prior to July 1.
According to a statement released by Daly this evening, an NHL investigation revealed:
- “That Ron Wilson, Head Coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, violated the provisions of NHL By-Law 15 relating to inappropriate public comments by speaking generally to his Club’s potential interest in negotiating with Daniel and Henrik Sedin prior to such time as those players’ existing contracts with Vancouver had expired. The League has imposed a fine on the Maple Leafs’ organization as a result;
- “That after a thorough investigation of all the relevant facts and circumstances, the League has found no evidence whatsoever to support Vancouver’s broader concerns that the Toronto Maple Leafs’ organization may have engaged in any other conduct or activities vis-ŕ-vis the Sedins that were in contravention of the League’s rules or policies relating to tampering.”
Meanwhile Daly also addressed the Canucks concerns about a Leafs TV documentary aired last week focusing on the entry draft back in June. Burke is seen addressing his war room at the draft when he suggests the Canucks offered Kevin Bieksa, Alex Burrows and their No. 1 pick in order to land the No. 2 overall pick, where they allegedly planned to snap up defenceman Victor Hedman.
On that subject, Daly stated:
- “That while unfortunate and inappropriate, the inclusion of a brief reference to the names of a pair of current Vancouver Canucks players in a television segment that aired once on Leafs TV last week did not constitute a tampering offense under League rules, and that no League action will be taken, or League sanction imposed on the Maple Leafs’ organization as a result.
“The Maple Leafs have been advised that the League likely would impose discipline for any future inappropriate conduct on their part that may cause, or may reasonably be perceived to cause, damage to the Canucks’ franchise, or its relationship with its existing players and/or employees.
“Both Clubs have been advised of these findings, and both have been instructed to refrain from further public comment of any kind relating to these matters. From the League’s perspective, this matter is closed. We will make no further comment.”