Maple Leafs make small moves amid rampant speculation about coach, GM

SAN JOSE – The Toronto Maple Leafs made a couple of minor player moves Friday amid rampant speculation about the job security of head coach Paul Maurice and GM John Ferguson.

One day after losing 5-2 to the last-place Los Angeles Kings to fall to 0-2 on their California trip, Toronto called up goaltender Justin Pogge from the AHL and claimed centre Dominic Moore off waivers from Minnesota.

It was hardly enough to quell the various rumours surrounding a team that has won just twice in 12 games and has fallen to 28th overall in the NHL. In fact, Toronto’s 16 wins leaves it tied for last in the league with the Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Richard Peddie, the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment who raised eyebrows when he joined the team on the road trip, told the on Friday that the board would be discussing Ferguson’s future very soon.

“If we think we need to do something, we’ll do it when the timing is right,” Peddie told in Los Angeles.

Reached by e-mail by The Canadian Press on Friday, Peddie said he had no further comment.

The fact his job is being questioned didn’t surprise the general manager, who is under contract until June.

“To hear that anyone is not disappointed with the effort recently would not be surprising,” Ferguson told reporters in Los Angeles on Friday. “None of that surprises me. I am responsible for everything that goes on here. I am accountable for it. That’s nothing new.”

He declined to say if he had considered firing Maurice.

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“I’m not going to get into that right now,” said Ferguson. “We’re all accountable, the players, myself, the coaching staff. We’ll leave it at that.”

It’s been a turbulent week for the Maple Leafs.

Local news outlets in Toronto spent days debating whether captain Mats Sundin should be dealt before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Sundin is earning US$5.5 million this season and is slated for unrestricted free agency July 1. He also has a no-trade clause.

The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, cancelled a scheduled practice in Los Angeles on Friday and headed to San Jose, where they will conclude a three-game road trip against the Sharks on Saturday night (10 p.m. ET).

Pogge, the former Canadian world junior star, could make his first NHL start in that game. Vesa Toskala had been expected to face his former team but the Leafs No. 1 goalie tweaked a groin injury on Thursday after relieving Andrew Raycroft during the loss to the Kings. Toskala will be a game-time decision for Saturday.

The 21-year-old Pogge is having a solid year in the American Hockey League with the Toronto Marlies. He is 13-3-4 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .908 save percentage.

Moore, meanwhile, joins the Maple Leafs after putting up three points (1-2) in 30 games for the Wild this season. The 27-year-old grew up in the Toronto suburb of Thornhill and is the brother of Steve Moore.

In 186 career NHL games with the Wild, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins, Dominic Moore has 18 goals and 41 points.