Peddie admitted, with the benefit of hindsight, that it was a mistake to hire Ferguson in 2003. Neil Smith and Steve Tambellini were both leading candidates for the position, but MLSE went with the inexperienced Ferguson.
"To be honest, it was a mistake on my part for not fully understanding at the time what the job of being (the Leafs GM) in this market fully entailed. Let's face it. It probably was the wrong place for a rookie general manager to start. I mean, all GMs make mistakes, but they are not under the constant microscope and scrutiny that you have in Toronto, which is, in our opinion, the top hockey market there is.
"That is all hindsight now. John has had time to learn a lot since then."
Certain bloggers and even some journalists are suggesting that Ron Francis is being considered for the job. There is also some speculation -again, by bloggers- that Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford is in consideration.
Neither is going anywhere.
There's an awful lot of talk about a few other guys, who would all be "rookie GMs". Steve Yzerman and Mark Messier are a few names, but that just reeks of Garth Snow. Sure, these guys were much much better players than Garth Snow, but they were just players. I think those names are being thrown out just for fun.
Another name is John Muckler. Most recently, Muckler was the General Manager of the Senators between 2001 and 2007. Previous to that, he had twelve years of head coaching experience with the Rangers, the Sabres and the Oilers.
The other, more likely candidates, according to the article in the Toronto Star are:
- legendary NHL coach Scotty Bowman, who has already said no.
- hockey analyst and former NHL goalie Glenn Healy. Healy had a 15 year career in the NHL with the Kings, Islanders, Rangers and Leafs. Since retiring in 2001, he's worked for CSC and TSN doing color commentary and analysis. Credentials as GM = none.
- NHL Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin "Clownshoes" Campbell. Campbell has reportedly been approached about the position, and he has a way to get out of his NHL obligations to take a GM position. He was head coach of the Rangers for four seasons between 1994 and 1998. He was offered the GM position in Philadelphia in 2006, but he rejected it with hopes that the Toroto position would become available.
As the losses pile up, I really wouldn't be surprised to see both Chairman Mo and JFJ lose their jobs.
My bet would be that Campbell takes the GM position and that former Thrashers bench boss Bob Hartley takes the head coach position.
If that comes to pass, we would all find new ways to hate "Clownshoes Campbell" and Hartley. It'll be fun.