Hiring John Ferguson as the Toronto Maple Leafs' general manager might have been a mistake, Richard Peddie said.
The president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which controls the NHLteam, said in Tuesday's edition of the Toronto Sun that handing a first-time GM the keys to hockey's most high-profile franchise might not have been fair.
"To be honest, it was a mistake on my part for not fully understanding at the time what the job of being [the Leafs GM] in this market fully entailed," said Peddie, who was behind the hiring of Ferguson in August 2003.
"Let's face it. It probably was the wrong place for a rookie general manager to start. I mean, all GMs make mistakes, but they are not under the constant microscope and scrutiny that you have in Toronto, which is, in our opinion, the top hockey market there is.
"That is all hindsight now. John has had time to learn a lot since then."
Peddie also denied reports that the Leafs, who have just one win in their last seven games heading into Tuesday's home date with Montreal, are considering replacing Ferguson and/or head coach Paul Maurice.
"We have not had talks along those lines with anyone since the summer," Peddie said, referring to the off-season hunt for a senior adviser for Ferguson, a process that included interviews with John Muckler and Scotty Bowman.
Peddie said theLeafs, who haven't made the playoffs since the 2003-04 season,won't make any rash decisions on the future of either Ferguson or Maurice.
"We're not reactionary in this tough time, but we feel" fans' anger, he said. "We read the papers. We listen to the talk shows. We know, believe me."