George McPhee, Mike Futa reportedly in running for Maple Leafs GM job

Jared Clinton
George McPhee (Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ search for a GM could come to a close soon, and among those who could be taking over the reins for the NHL’s richest franchise include former Washington Capitals GM George McPhee and current Los Angeles Kings vice president of hockey operations Mike Futa.

According to Sportsnet’s Damien Cox, McPhee and Futa aren’t the only two GMs the Maple Leafs have considered for the post. Reportedly, Toronto is also interested in potentially landing Tampa Bay assistant GM Julien Brisebois or New York Rangers assistant GM Jeff Gorton.

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Memorial Cup preview: How each team wins or loses

Leon Draisaitl (Melissa Baecker/Getty Images)

We know our four teams for the Memorial Cup now. Thanks to Oshawa’s ousting of Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters, the Generals will represent the OHL, joining Kelowna of the WHL, plus Quebec (the hosts) and Rimouski in the QMJHL. So who is favored to win it all? Ah, that’s a thorny question in a tournament that often surprises. But let’s take a look at what you should know about the four worthy squads in contention.

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Why Phil Kessel should be Montreal’s top trade target

Phil Kessel. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Babe Ruth, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Johnny Damon and Jacoby Ellsbury, to name a few, were Boston Red Sox and then New York Yankees.

Brett Favre was a Green Bay Packer and then a Minnesota Viking. Edmonton Oilers legend Grant Fuhr finished his career with Calgary. So there is precedent for a high-profile player to join his franchise’s most bitter rival.

That’s just one reason why I ask you not to gasp at this mental image: Phil Kessel in bleu, blanc, et rouge. Frank Mahovlich did it. Doug Gilmour did it. It can happen.

More importantly, it should happen, not in the sense that it will – fat chance – but in that it would be a smart idea for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens to engineer a Phil Kessel deal before this June’s draft.

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Red Wings will lose Mike Babcock, and they’ll be just fine

Mike Babcock (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland knows his team will have a very good coach next season. He’s also pretty certain it won’t be Mike Babcock. That’s why after the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and a couple of other teams called about getting permission to speak with his soon-to-be-free-agent coach, Holland knew exactly what to do.

So last Sunday, he and Babcock took a drive to Grand Rapids to watch the Red Wings AHL team in the playoffs. Holland told Babcock teams had been calling and asked whether Babcock wanted to start negotiations on a new deal with the Wings or explore the market. And Babcock told Holland he wanted to see what was out there. Read more

Former Lightning coach Guy Boucher reportedly contacted by Maple Leafs

Guy Boucher (Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

During an interview with TSN 1050 in Toronto, Guy Boucher, former Tampa Bay Lightning bench boss and current coach of Swiss National League A club SC Bern, told host Dave Naylor that he had been contacted at least once about coming back to the NHL.

TSN’s Darren Dreger followed up on Tuesday’s interview with a report that it is “believed” the mystery team that contacted Boucher was the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto is in the midst of a coaching search, so for Boucher to land in Ontario’s capital is a possibility and the stars might be aligning for him to return to the NHL thanks to an out-clause in his contract. Read more

Prospect Hot List: Mike Robinson’s Wildcat formation

Mike Robinson (photo by Jon Chase)

The final matchups in major junior have been set: Quebec takes on Rimouski in the Quebec League; Brandon will duke it out with Kelowna in the West and Erie gets Oshawa in the OHL. Whatever the results, it’s going to be a power-packed Memorial Cup. Meanwhile, the USHL draft is taking place, with Minnesota high school standout Ryan Poehling going first to Lincoln in Phase One (for 1999 birthdays) and some interesting pickups elsewhere in Phase Two (older players). Let’s take a whirl around the prospect planet to see what’s up.

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Marcel Pronovost remembered as Hall of Fame player and person

Ken Campbell
Marcel Pronovost, Terry Sawchuk and Gordie Howe (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

If you ever need a case study in the stark contrasts that sometimes exist between on-ice perception and off-ice personality, you needn’t go much further than Marcel Pronovost. As rambunctious and dramatic as he was on the ice, he was as humble and respectful off it.

The man Ted Lindsay once called, “the most underrated defenseman every to play in the league,” Pronovost died Sunday in Windsor at the age of 84 after a series of illnesses. And the hockey world is a little less for having lost Pronovost, a man who devoted his life to the game and whose tentacles touched almost every aspect of it, from playing to coaching to scouting. And Pronovost enjoyed an enormous amount of success in all three. Read more

Maple Leafs prospect Viktor Loov throws vicious headshot in AHL playoffs

Jared Clinton
Viktor Loov hits Zach Nastasiuk (via @SlapshotG0al/GFYCat)

At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, 22-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Viktor Loov is no small man. And with his sizeable frame, he’s no stranger to throwing around the body. Unfortunately for Loov, he might also become no stranger to watching from the sidelines following a blindside headshot to Detroit Red Wings prospect Zach Nastasiuk in the second game of the first-round AHL tilt between the Toronto Marlies and Grand Rapids Griffins.

Nastasiuk received a pass in the neutral zone and put his head down to collect the puck off of the boards. Before he could even lift his head to take a look, Loov had come across the ice and delivered a massive blow that popped Nastasiuk’s helmet clean off and left the 20-year-old winger laying on the ice: Read more