John Ferguson Jr. will not be the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs next season -- even if the team makes the playoffs this season.


This, at least, is the information coming from a source with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Leafs.


"John received a contract extension earlier this season," the source said, "but that doesn't mean he'll be back next season. I think the idea (behind the one-year extension) was to give him a bit of a boost, mainly because he was restless and he was complaining privately about his lack of security. Frankly, though, I get the impression that the people who call the shots in the organization aren't pleased with him or his methods. My hunch is that, regardless of what happens with the team this season, he won't be back next season. That's my hunch, but it's based on my observations. I don't think John has the respect or the support he'll need to be back.


"The only thing that may change his status is maybe if we happen to get very hot and make it into the final four."


And the odds, of course, are against the Leafs making it that far.

• Long before Ferguson Jr. began to generally manage (mismanage?) the Maple Leafs, his father was a conspicuous figure in the NHL as a tough and defiant player and executive.

Now, as he puts up a tough and defiant battle against life-threatening bone cancer, the senior Fergie is conspicuous by his absence from hockey's Hall of Fame.

And, as I mentioned in my