Glen Sather is a leading candidate to become the new president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a source in the club's front office told Metro earlier this week.

"Sather (is) definitely one of the favourites," said the source, who requested anonymity. "You might hear denials about this right now because the search is supposed to be hush-hush, but there's no doubt Sather's viewed as a hockey wizard by the organization and, if things progress as I think they might, he could be the guy."

Interest is mutual, the source said. Sather, 64, has served as president and GM of the New York Rangers since 2000 and was the mastermind in the 1980s behind the Edmonton Oilers, arguably the top dynasty in NHL history.

A Rangers executive strongly denies a suggestion from the source that Sather has interviewed for the Leafs' job. "While we typically don't comment on employee matters, this (information about Sather interviewing for the Leafs' position) is completely false," said John Rosasco, the Rangers' vice-president of public relations and player recruitment.

>> Speaking of the Rangers, forward Sean Avery may have been goofy with those attempts to interfere with New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur the other night, but the NHL was far more bush-league in deciding yesterday that similar antics will draw penalties in the future. I mean, you just can’t arbitrarily alter rules as you go along … I don’t care what anyone says about Avery. I’d take him on my team any day … Mind you, I used to like Claude Lemieux, too. And Matthew BarnabyRon Wilson will be a quick goner as San Jose’s coach if the Sharks lose their playoff series to the underdog Flames. Wilson, whose team trails 2-1, has been seriously outcoached by Calgary’s Mike Keenan.

>> And, while on the subject of being outcoached, that’s what happens regularly to the Raptors’ Sam Mitchell, who’s been largely responsible for his team’s underachievements this season. There was a newspaper report yesterday that Mitchell was in a grumpy mood. As if that were news? This guy’s perpetually unpleasant.

>> From Gary Payton, who spent 17 years in the NBA as a star point guard and will eventually be inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame: “I don’t miss basketball at all. I don’t think about it at all. I don’t even watch it anymore.”

>> And from third baseman Miguel Cabrera, the prized off-season acquisition of the Detroit Tigers: “I feel embarrassed right now. I’m bad in the field. I’m swinging at bad pitches. I feel bad. I feel like everybody’s laughing at me.”

Cabrera entered last night batting .175, while the Tigers were 2-10.