Leave it to Howard to kick of this years rumor season with his own sources in Sweden, at this stage I may need to launch SwedenSportsMedia.com to keep up on all the hockey rumors….
“One of my trusted bird-dogs from Sweden has spoken with the people representing Jonas Gustavsson, and he is convinced the Maple Leafs stand an excellent chance of landing the free agent goalie.”
I know he is using the bird dog thing in jest…
The good news, is that for the most part Howard doesn’t usually report dead wrong rumors. If someone is chirping in his ear and he is reporting it he has a fairly decent track record. His problem is, in my opinion that he just doesn’t break any scoops anymore….Guess it’s only a problem if you think that’s a key part of the job….
““Originally, it was thought that Jonas would take his time making a decision, but it sounds like he was really blown away by the Leafs,” the source insisted. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he chooses Toronto rather quickly. The sense I get is that Brian Burke put together a plan that did an excellent job of convincing Jonas about the opportunity with the Maple Leafs. Apparently, he really liked the city as well. So, I think the Leafs are right at the front of the line among teams pursuing him, though he hasn’t yet indicated which way he’ll turn.”
Funny thing is then, that not much has changed since the reality tour. Most handicappers were saying that this was for the Leafs to blow and if Howie is right they haven’t so far.
The best part to me anyway is that the Monster seemed to have been more impressed with the substance of hockey as opposed to the other stuff he was shown elsewhere:
“the Leafs’ pitch was more hockey-centric than those from other clubs, particularly Dallas, which apparently did everything except allow Gustavsson to fire rubber bullets from the sixth floor of the old Texas Schoolbook Depository Building. “The Stars really went all out for Jonas, and he likes the people in their organization, especially [new GM] Joe Nieuwendyk,” I was told. “They took him to many different events and you probably heard that he was introduced to (former U.S. president) George W. Bush. But, the Leafs were a bit more focussed in their presentation. They stuck to hockey, and the potential future for him to be the No. 1 goalie on an improving team.”
That’s a very good sign if he ends up here. At least we know he is here for the right reasons.
We shall see if Howies track record stays intact or goes down…50-50 on this one..
You can read howie here