Signs point to Nonis returning as Maple Leafs GM
Dave Nonis. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)
Is the future of embattled general manager Dave Nonis brighter than a lot of disgruntled Maple Leafs fans give him credit for?
Or, more importantly, than they want to see.
There certainly are indications to that end, hints that suggest Nonis will be back.
If Nonis was on the chopping block, critics have wondered why he would be allowed to architect the trade deadline deals last month that are seen as being key to the rebuild of the Leafs franchise?
And if Nonis’ days were numbered with the organization, why would he reportedly be part of the organization’s strategy sessions that have also included team president Brendan Shanahan and other management types?
For what it’s worth, analyst Darren Dreger told TSN-1050 radio on Wednesday that it is likely Nonis returns as GM for the 2015-16 season. We’re not sure if finding a way to get rid of David Clarkson’s albatross contract helped Nonis’ chances of maintaining his position but it certainly couldn’t hurt.
Until a formal announcement is made, nothing is etched in stone when it comes to a Maple Leafs organization that seems to produce more sidebars — and side shows — than any other franchise in the league. Still, at least looking at the entire situation as a whole, there certainly are enough signals to allow observers to conclude that the Leafs are leaning toward bringing back Nonis to run the show one more time.
Less than 24 hours after he went fist city with J.T. Brown, forward Sam Carrick was sent down to the American Hockey League’s Marlies on Wednesday.
Carrick certainly would be a boost to a Marlies team attempting to squeeze its way into the postseason. Entering their game against former Marlie Spencer Abbott and the Chicago Wolves at Ricoh Coliseum, the Marlies had 73 points, leaving them three points behind seventh place Milwaukee, and two behind eighth place Chicago and ninth place Hamilton.
Toronto holds games in hand on all three teams.
QUEEN CITY BLUES
Because he didn’t play in the Leafs 6-2 drubbing at the hands of the Sabres back on Nov. 15 here at the First Niagara Center, David Booth was unaware of the trials and tribulations experienced by the Leafs over the years in the Queen City.
Nor had he ever experienced the atmosphere that fills the Sabres home arena when several thousand Leafs fans make the trek down the QEW to watch the Leafs play.
As a result, Wednesday night marked the first time he played in a Sabres-Leafs game in Buffalo. And, make no mistake, he was very much looking forward to it.
“It’s kind of ben the case all year,” Booth said. “In many of our road games, it kind of feels like an advantage because we have so many fans in the building. You have to give it to our fans.”
LAST MINUTE OF PLAY
Interesting to see Hall of Famer Mark Howe in the press box.
Howe is a scout for the playoff-bound Red Wings. Of course, both teams he was watching at First Niagara Center on Wednesday night have long been eliminated from the postseason.
Given the Red Wings interest in Dion Phaneuf prior to the trade deadline, might he have been in the house to scout the Leafs captain?
Just throwing it out there.