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Fletcher and Leafs Wait On Wilson

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
(TORONTO) -- Cliff Fletcher played Meet The Press on Thursday and in a nutshell here is the news...

The Leafs are waiting.

Waiting until Monday, at the latest, for coaching candidate Ron Wilson to accept or reject the club’s offer.

Waiting at least a few more weeks on longtime captain Mats Sundin to decide his future.

Waiting for June 15 and beyond to pare the roster via buyouts.

Fletcher was at Wegz Stadium Bar in Toronto where he convened the draw for the July 8 Woodbine Oaks, June 8.

Returned to guide the Leafs in January after the firing of John Ferguson, Fletcher confirmed what everyone already knew: the Leafs believe their candidate is 53-year-old Ron Wilson who has handled the coaching duties in San Jose, Washington and Anaheim.

New information: The offer was a multi-year deal and Wilson has until Monday to decide.

“He has gone down to South Carolina and he’s spending a few days thinking about it,” Fletcher said. “I expect to hear from him over the weekend sometime or at the very latest Monday morning.

“We felt that we needed to know by Monday because if Ron doesn’t think it’s a fit, we have to move forward.”

Fletcher wouldn’t bite on how long he would be staying on as GM but said the Leafs have to move to grab a head coach. The same urgency could not be applied to the general manager search since he believed “most of the quality general managers were under contract at this time.”

 “I don’t think whenever a permanent general manager comes in he would be disappointed by the likes of Ron Wilson was running his team,” he said.

Fletcher confirmed the Leafs were waiting to hear from Sundin, whom they met with last week. If the phone does not ring next week, Fletcher said he will probably pick it up.

“I will probably be contacting them, not the next week but the week after,” he said. “Mats is pondering things back home in Sweden. It’s entirely in his hands.”

Fletcher cautioned fans not to expect buyouts on June 15, the day the Leafs can officially begin tendering them.

“The buyouts wouldn’t even be a consideration by us until well after the (June 20 and 21) amateur draft. We would look at making trade and then if that is unsuccessful, if buying out is an option, we would deal with it at that time.”

As for his interim general manager tag, Fletcher said he was unconcerned.

“When you look at the interim tag, don’t you believe that every professional sports executive is interim?”

Among the other decisions facing Fletcher is whether to keep Pavel Kubina now that his no-trade clause has been invalidated by the Leafs’ inability to make the playoffs and what do with three of the five players who exercised their no-trade rights last March, Darcy Tucker, Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle.
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