Toronto Maple Leafs: Cliff Fletcher Says Paul Maurice Stays

Shane NormanCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2008

Cliff Fletcher was introduced today as the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs—for the second time in his career.

Though Fletcher will, at this point, manage only for the interim he is expected to access and provide direction for the Maple Leaf Hockey club. Whether that means they will aim for the basement and the higher draft pick or make a run for the playoffs, who knows.

In either case, if it's a challenge Mr. Fletcher is after he has found it here in Toronto at Bay St. and Lakeshore.

The only people in the organization able to breathe a temporary sigh of relief are Paul Maurice and his coaching staff. Cliff Fletcher assured the staff they would have their jobs at least until the end of the 2007-2008 season.

In an afternoon press conference a humbled Maurice spoke on the dismissal of JFJ, the man who brought him back into the NHL. He would not comment on anything privately discussed between the two men, saying only that he was disappointed by the team's performance and that it was this poor performance that led to JFJ's release.

He had nothing but praise for his former GM. Throughout the press conference, Maurice spoke of simply winning games as the obvious solution to all the club's problems. His only wish for the upcoming trade deadline was that his team be healthy.

The Leafs bench boss congratulated Mr. Fletcher and says he looks forward to working with him during his 2nd tenure as Maple Leafs GM. The Coach, unlike most of the Leaf Nation, feels that his dressing room houses a winning squad.

But only time will tell if fans will see any playoff action this year.