Got a chance to listen to Cliff on the Watter’s show. I have to say, it is a pleasure listening to the silver fox as compared to either JFJ or JPR. I think the guys is sincere, he listens to the question and gives straight answers. I also believe he has the McCabe situation dealt with already, but something else has to happen first. More below, or listen for yourself….
Anyways here are the tidbits from Cliff Fletcher with Greg Brady and Bill Watters:
Watters still believes Burke coming soon
Cliff on McCabe: Discussion are on going with Ian Pulver – he believes the situation can probably be resolved in early Sept.
Watters says to Cliff even if Cliff gets a list of 5 teams, Watters thinks it is still possible no deal will be made, as the teams listed may not want McCabe.
Cliff: I am not going to get into that. Bryan needs to decide first and foremost if he wants to play- and i believe he does. I believe he will feel that it will be in his best interest to move on from Toronto. Then we have to do what we can to make sure it is satisfactory to him. I am fairly confident we can do that, both parties will be happy and we will move on. Nothing will happen in the next 2-3 weeks but it will well before training camp.
Watters presses again, What are obstacles if you don’t resolve it by then, you don’t invite McCabe to training camp and you still DO pay him?
Cliff responds: I have no idea, we don’t operate that way, at least I don’t anyway. I have been in the business too long to get into a situation like that. Bryan is a good person, he was a good Maple Leaf and there will be resolution in some form.
Watters asks, yet again, If you are unable to agree will he be playing for the Leafs on opening night?
Cliff responds: yes, I have never operated that way.
Brady asks, that given the lack of interest in McCabe in February, has Bryan’s value decreased?
Cliff responds: No, in February, Bryan said he didn’t want to move, so we didn’t bang our heads against the wall. At that time teams were concerned about his health as he was just back from an injury. That isn’t the case now so his value has gone up.
On an unrelated question, I believe about Sundin, Cliff says, “We just need a few more weeks and then there will be no more issues with McCabe after that”
Watter then asks is there a scenario where both Sundin and McCabe are in the opening night lineup?
Cliff responds: I guess anything is possible and we have loads of cap room if needed.
Cliff responds to a question about Jonas Frogren: We liked him in the World Championships in Quebec, he doesn’t get into trouble in his own end and based on our play of late he will be a big help.
Cliff gets asked about a rotating captain and responds that he thinks it can work, but if Sundin is back its a moot issue as he will be captain
Watters then says he is beginning to think that Sundin will be back.
Cliff responds: I look into my crystal ball every am and still there is nothing there.
Cliff then debunks Eklunds theory on a no movement clause holding this up by stating that he has never talked about anything other then an annual salary with JP Barry, and that should Sundin want to come back those issues will all have to be negotiated. He adds that he talked to JP Barry last week, that the rumors of Mats not training are BS, he is training as usual and he started to skate today.
On numerous occasions Cliff said he thinks this will be resolved in 2-3 weeks. You have to wonder why then? What is he not saying? Does an interested team need to dump salary? Is there another shoe that has to drop first? Something is up, Cliff knows something, he seemed to convinced that in 2-3 weeks this will be resolved.
The more I listened to the interview the more comfortable I became with the notion that Cilff is the right guy for the time being. After what Leaf fans have been through, I get the impression he has a plan. Even more so, I am more convinced that Berger is off his rocker on the McCabe issue. Cliff has dealt with and will continue to do so in a professional manner. Problem for Howies is nothing left to bitch about.
If you want to listen to the interview you can do so here flecther with wilbur and brady