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Scotty Bowman to join Leafs

Stafford Smythe
User ID: 276453
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08/06/2007 09:00 AM
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Scotty Bowman to join Leafs
Bowman denies he is close to job with Leafs


With a report from Allan Maki

E-mail David Shoalts | Read Bio | Latest Columns
August 6, 2007

The Toronto Maple Leafs' dance with Scotty Bowman is in full swing again, according to a source, but Bowman denies he was offered the job as president of the NHL club.

The source said Bowman was offered the job by the board of directors of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and was given a week to decide. Bowman, the former Detroit Red Wings coach who is still a consultant to the club, spurned two previous attempts by MLSE to hire him.

Bowman said yesterday he has not received further offers from the Leafs.

"I have not received any offer from the Toronto Maple Leafs for any position," he said. "I can't make it any clearer than that."

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Bowman said he was at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto last Thursday, but that was to attend a conference on rules at the NHL's office.

Another source told The Globe and Mail that Red Wings general manager Ken Holland asked Bowman a few days ago whether anything was happening with the Leafs after hearing that talks had resumed. Bowman told Holland there was nothing going on, according to the source.

Neither MLSE president Richard Peddie nor Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson, whose tenure with the club could end with Bowman's arrival, could be reached for comment.

However, the signs around MLSE point to a change in the senior management of the Maple Leafs, who have missed the playoffs the past two seasons.

Peddie and MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum have been searching for a senior adviser for months. Ferguson has not been offered a contract extension, even though one was promised by the end of June, according to the GM and others connected to MLSE.

Bowman rejected at least two overtures from the Leafs in June. After Bowman turned them down the first time, the Leafs offered more money, but he rejected them again.

Another indication that change is on the way is the outcome of the John Muckler interview. Muckler, who was fired as the Ottawa Senators' GM in June, was interviewed last month by MLSE for the position of senior adviser. One of the first things Muckler told the board, according to a source, was that Ferguson should get a contract extension. The source said Muckler told him he has not heard from MLSE since then.

If Bowman or anyone else becomes the president of the Leafs, it would be seen as a defeat for Peddie and a victory for Tanenbaum and his ally on the board, Dale Lastman. Peddie championed Ferguson, who was hired as a 36-year-old rookie GM in August of 2003. Since then, with the Leafs finishing out of the playoffs the past two seasons, Ferguson has been fending off many critics.

Talk around MLSE is that Peddie resisted hiring someone to oversee the hockey operations, but tried to reach a compromise with Tanenbaum by agreeing to hire a mentor for Ferguson.
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08/06/2007 09:05 AM
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