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Maple Leafs also considering Colin Campbell

Dan Pollard
5/12/2008 11:50:32 AM
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The speculation wheel continues to roll on in Toronto as the Leafs search for a new General Manager and President. This week an actual live body will make an appearance for a meeting. After being rebuffed by several NHL teams for permission to talk to their employees the Leafs official selection committee will order an extra coffee Tuesday to talk to former Vancouver employee Dave Nonis.  

Of course with nothing being made public there is plenty of room for fans and the media to speculate on what is happening behind closed doors. Leaf fans should not be afraid to use their de-coder rings to alert the media to any potential developments. 

The Nonis appearance continues to feed the theory that the Leafs are looking at hiring the ex Canucks GM and then moving him into another hockey position when Brian Burke is signed on in a year when his deal ends in Anaheim. Burke remains the "sexy" name on the candidates list despite the fact he says he will serve out the last year of his contract. Actually he said that once and then said he wouldn't talk about it anymore.

Until Burke signs a contract extension in Anaheim this talk is not going to go away. Well, maybe. 

The Leafs are exploring another option. He's NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.

From everything I have been told the Leafs have not formally contacted Campbell to ask him if he would like to take over a senior hockey position with the team but that could very well become a formality once the hockey season ends. The Leafs have been doing their "due diligence" talking to people in the NHL and the league office about Campbell's work while he steers the on-ice product through the playoffs.

The Leafs like what they hear. 

On his weekly show on XM Radio last week NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman publicly extolled Campbell's virtues to callers. He's just as complimentary behind the scenes. Campbell has been a great right hand man for Bettman but the Commissioner won't stand in his way if he's offered a job with a team in the league. He's been open in the past. This would not be the 1st time a team has expressed interest in hiring Campbell as the man to lead their team.

By the way, Mike Murphy is the man in the wings at the NHL head office who likely would take over Campbell's position if the latter were to leave at the end of the year. 

If Campbell feels like the right candidate for the job there is time for the Leafs to make an offer even if they wait until the end of the season. The Entry draft doesn't roll around until June 20th.   

Campbell fits the Leafs hiring criteria. 

He may not have that Burke "damn you mentality" but there's a cup ring on his hand. Sure it came as an associate coach to Mike Kennan in New York and not as a GM but who better than Campbell to have had a current pulse on the league and its players. He is the league's Vice President of Operations. Wasn't that the job held by Brian Burke at one time? Burke also has one cup ring. 

Campbell's job in dealing with NHL teams certainly holds him in good stead for dealing with the Toronto Maple Leaf board of directors. He won't take the job with any less control than would be demanded by Brian Burke. He's seen GM's take flyers on players and succeed and he's seen GM's take flyers on players and fail. Believe me Colin takes notes. You'd be hard pressed to find a harder worker.

Who better to argue the ins and the outs of the collective bargaining agreement?

It turns out the Leafs could have their guy in-house already. 

Campbell's current NHL office at the corner of the Air Canada Centre is no more than an elevator ride away from where the next Toronto Maple Leaf President and GM will reside. 

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