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Leafs looking at Fleury

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by John McCauley

Theoren Fleury has been searching for a team that would help him put the turmoil of last season behind him. The Toronto Maple Leafs may be that club but it isn't likely.

"(Fleury's agent) indicated to me that there was a certain number of teams that Theo had chosen," Bill Watters told the Canadian Press. "I know that we are not one of them.

"But, the decision hasn't been made yet. So until and when it is, for me to say we're disinterested would be the voice of the defeated. We have an interest in Theo Fleury playing in Toronto because we think he would make our team better."

Pat Quinn was pleased with Fleury's play during the Olympics.
Watters has had several conversations with Don Baizley, Fleury's agent, about Toronto possibly being a comfortable place for the veteran forward.

Fleury has made it clear that he is looking for a place that can give him an opportunity to beat the demons that forced him into a substance abuse program while with the New York Rangers. Considering that, playing while under the Maple Leafs microscope may not be the right situation.

"We're not concerned about that. I think we have a group (of players) who would receive him well," Watters said.

"The advantage is if you come and play well in Toronto you become better than you really are. If you come and don't do as well as the media expected you to then you are a bum. There's no in-between."

Fleury became an unrestricted free agent after the Rangers failed to pick up his $7 million contract option. He has had discussions with the Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes and may talk with another team before making his final decision.

The Leafs also have interest in former Ottawa Senators' bust Alexander Daigle.

The Sens' no. 1 overall pick in the 1993 NHL draft, has agreed to a free-agent tryout with the Pittsburgh Penguins, RDS reported on its Web site Tuesday.

That wouldn't stop Daigle from coming to the Leafs. Daigle may take part in the Penguins' upcoming selection camp but only get a contract if he makes the team.

"We understood that he was going to sign with San Jose, but the guy has some skill and if he was willing to sign a two-way contract, we'd be interested," Watters told The Toronto Sun.

Daigle signed a monster $12.5-million US deal with the Senators in 1993 and then wilted under the pressure of being the expansion franchise's savior. After stints with Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and the New York, Daigle retired.

The 27-year-old started a small production company in the two years since being in the NHL. In interviews after Daigle admitted that he only played for the money.

He has been working out this summer with Anson Carter, Rob Blake and other NHLers near L.A..
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