Muskoka Five sit tight

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

33. Sour Swede

2007-2008 season

The greatest scorer in team history should have ideally retired as a Stanley Cup champion or at least as a Maple Leaf, but there would be an awkward parting of the ways.

As time ticked down on the 2007-08 season and unrestricted free agency, Mats Sundin made it clear he didn't want to be traded, thus the Leafs let a huge opportunity get away in terms of re-stocking the farm with the bountiful crop of a deal. When the Atlanta Thrashers acquired Erik Christensen, Colby Armstrong, first-rounder Angelo Esposito and a future first-rounder from Pittsburgh for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis, envious Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher thought he could've topped that had Sundin agreed to move.

Now the Leafs faced 2008-09 with their leading scorer in limbo. Everyone tried to pry information from the big Swede during the summer, who had been captain for a decade. But his indecision and his preferred hermit-like existence in Sweden dragged the process into the following season. The Leafs gave up pursuit with new GM Brian Burke and coach Ron Wilson intent on taking the Leafs in a new direction.

Sundin eventually signed with the Vancouver Canucks and though his first game in Toronto saw him receive a nice reception, it wasn't the way it was supposed to end.

32. The Muskoka Five

sit tight

Feb. 26, 2008

It was around the time that Leafs TV did a feature on Darcy Tucker's sprawling new home that he and a group of players armed with no-trade contracts were dubbed "The Muskoka Five", too ensconced in T.O. to want to think of winning with contenders elsewhere.

But Tucker, Pavel Kubina, Tomas Kaberle, Jason Blake and Bryan McCabe refused to give up their clauses, despite keen interest at trade deadline time from other clubs. Established defencemen such as Kubina and Kaberle were of particular interests to playoff-bound clubs, but interim GM Cliff Fletcher, hoping for a bold stroke to re-vamp the team, could not budge them.

31. Who let the dog out?

July 2, 2002

He grew up around the corner, he would place in the top 10 in four franchise goaltending categories, games, wins, shutouts and goals-against average. He would take the Leafs to two conference finals and make sincere goodwill gestures such as donating a private box to kids with medical issues.

But Curtis Joseph would not go out a Cup winner with the Leafs as was his great ambition, he would choose to leave his dream job on this date because he didn't think the Leafs were serious about winning.

That is what he determined from a bitter contract wrangle in the summer of '02 when the Leafs dragged their feet and Joseph looked at the growing number of free agents in his shoes who had opted for clubs such as the Red Wings.

General manager Pat Quinn shrugged and brought in Ed Belfour who came close to Joseph's numbers a couple of years, but had a porcupine personality.

Six years later, neither Joseph or the Leafs had found what they wanted, the team going through a couple of GMs and several goalies, while Joseph had gone through three clubs and seen a grand total of 15 playoff games.

He came back for a swan-song with the Leafs, but there was the definite feeling the best years had come and gone.

"I should never have left," Joseph eventually admitted.


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