Leafs not on Nash's list

The Columbus Dispatch revealed that Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash has six teams on his trade list;...

The Columbus Dispatch revealed that Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash has six teams on his trade list; the Maple Leafs are not one of them. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency file photo)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:08 AM ET

TORONTO - The Maple Leafs are not on Rick Nash’s list of preferred destinations, a fact they share with the other six Canadian NHL teams.

The Columbus Dispatch revealed that Nash has six teams to which he would be willing to be traded — the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks.

It’s hard to say why Nash, born and raised in Brampton, would want to be part of the Leafs at this point. Toronto is the lone club in the NHL not to make the playoffs since the 2004-05 lockout and there is no guarantee the Leafs will make a return to the post-season in 2013.

Nash might not like the microscope of playing for a Canadian team, but the glare of the spotlight can be fairly harsh in most of the places on his list.

As it stands, the Leafs don’t have the organizational depth to make a proper offer for Nash, especially since general manager Brian Burke has no interest in trading defenceman Jake Gardiner.

If it’s true that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson wants two players, two prospects and a first-round pick for Nash, he could be waiting a while this summer to get something done. Nash has scored at least 30 goals in each of the past five seasons but has played in just four NHL playoff games in his career.

The Leafs, would they have been able to get Nash, would have needed more than just a goal-scoring winger to put them into true playoff contention.

The conundrum of adding to his team still challenges Burke.

Nash is not going to come to Toronto and it’s unlikely that goaltender Roberto Luongo will either. With just under $12 million to spend under the salary cap, Burke probably is taking a long look at Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan, but just one player won’t fill the Leafs’ needs.

LABOUR OF LOVE

Constructive, cordial, business-like.

Those are words being used by the NHL and NHL Players’ Association to describe negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The sides met on Tuesday in Toronto, with another session scheduled for Friday and several more next week.

“The process is moving forward in a constructive manner,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said as he stopped briefly to answer questions.

“They have been positive, constructive, cordial.”

Is Bettman optimistic that a work stoppage similar to the one that wiped out the 2004-05 season when players were locked out by the owners can be avoided?

“I don’t think it is constructive to the process for me to be characterizing whether or not things are moving in a certain manner or what our proposals or demands are,” Bettman said. “The best work that will be done in this process will be done in the conference rooms and across the negotiating table.”

The current agreement expires on Sept. 15. The sides have met four times as they try to agree on a new pact.

NHLPA union boss Donald Fehr agreed that business has carried on more regularly than it did in the months leading up to the expiration of the CBA eight years ago.

But Fehr still takes a cautious approach.

“You have to be optimistic when you approach things like this, but I have been doing this long enough, I don’t make predictions,” Fehr said. “You take it day by day, you do the best you can.

“The meetings we have had have been appropriate and business-like. I am not distressed by the meetings we have had.”

Among the issues discussed on Tuesday were day-to-day player working conditions.

Vancouver Canucks forward Manny Malhotra was among 11 players at the bargaining table on Tuesday. Is he worried another lockout or work stoppage could happen?

“We’re not looking that far into the future,” Malhotra said. “Talks have been really good. We’re going to focus on the positive things right now.”

DEBOER KEEPS CHIN UP

Peter DeBoer couldn’t be faulted for feeling like a man besieged.

After all, the New Jersey Devils coach has watched in the past couple of weeks as assistant coach Adam Oates was hired as coach of the Washington Capitals, captain Zach Parise signed with the Minnesota Wild and another assistant, Larry Robinson, departed to take on a role as associate coach with the San Jose Sharks.

All this after DeBoer’s Devils were defeated in the Stanley Cup final by the Los Angeles Kings in June.

But DeBoer isn’t walking around with a hang-dog look.

“This league does not allow you to feel sorry for yourself,” DeBoer said in a telephone interview with the Toronto Sun. “We tell our players that and we have to live by those words.

“You take it as flattery when other teams want to hire your people (or sign your players).

“Those are big holes to fill, all three of them.”

DeBoer consistently referred to Parise as the Devils’ “heartbeat” during the playoffs and used that word again on Tuesday to describe the 27-year-old forward.

“It’s tough to put into tangible stats or words what he meant to us,” DeBoer said. “We’re going to have to go by committee to fill that void.”

As for losing to the Kings in six games, DeBoer has had time to reflect.

“I don’t know if you ever get over it, but as it disappears more into the rear view mirror, you appreciate more what you did as a team,” DeBoer said.

With two vacancies on his staff, DeBoer said he will look within the organization, but likely is going to make at least one hire from outside.


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