NHL issues statement regarding Leafs' tampering allegations

TSN.ca Staff
10/7/2009 7:00:23 PM
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The National Hockey League has delivered its findings regarding the reported tampering allegations between the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs' organizations.

In a media release, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly issued a statement on Wednesday confirming the following:

"That Ron Wilson, Head Coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, violated the provisions of NHL By-Law 15 relating to inappropriate public comments by speaking generally to his Club's potential interest in negotiating with Daniel and Henrik Sedin prior to such time as those players' existing contracts with Vancouver had expired. The League has imposed a fine on the Maple Leafs' organization as a result;

"That after a thorough investigation of all the relevant facts and circumstances, the League has found no evidence whatsoever to support Vancouver's broader concerns that the Toronto Maple Leafs' organization may have engaged in any other conduct or activities vis-à-vis the Sedins that were in contravention of the League's rules or policies relating to tampering;

"That while unfortunate and inappropriate, the inclusion of a brief reference to the names of a pair of current Vancouver Canucks players in a television segment that aired once on Leafs TV last week did not constitute a tampering offense under League rules, and that no League action will be taken, or League sanction imposed on the Maple Leafs' organization as a result.

"The Maple Leafs have been advised that the League likely would impose discipline for any future inappropriate conduct on their part that may cause, or may reasonably be perceived to cause, damage to the Canucks' franchise, or its relationship with its existing players and/or employees.

"Both Clubs have been advised of these findings, and both have been instructed to refrain from further public comment of any kind relating to these matters. From the League's perspective, this matter is closed. We will make no further comment.”

The media release will serve as the League's only comment regarding the issue.

In an interview with Vancouver radio station TEAM 1040 on Monday, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis stated that the Canucks were pursuing tampering charges with the NHL after Leafs GM Brian Burke's comments about a proposed Canucks trade with Tampa Bay at last spring's draft were made public.

Burke was caught on a recently-released bit on Leafs TV discussing a rumoured deal between the Canucks and the Tampa Bay Lightning that would have seen defenceman Kevin Bieksa, forward Alex Burrows and the Canucks top pick (22nd overall) being sent to the Lightning in an attempt to grab Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman with the second overall pick.

Gillis told TEAM 1040 the Canucks have brought the matter up with the NHL and that he was surprised that Burke would allow the conversation to be made public.

"There are certainly some issues that the league needs to take control off when players' names are being thrown around. You're talking about lives and families and those things need to be kept confidential when you may be discussing a transaction of some type. There was a mention of player's names, which was very upsetting for them, and it doesn't make me feel very good."

Earlier in the summer, Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson made remarks on a Toronto radio station where he stated that the Leafs' would be interested in going after the Sedin twins during the free agency period.

The Canucks decided that enough is enough and are bringing the matter up with the NHL. Gillis noted that he was concerned about the precedent being set if the Maple Leafs were allowed to walk away after making comments about players on other NHL teams.

Bill Daly (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)


(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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