Corson "resigns" from Maple Leafs

Shayne Corson's tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs is over.

Corson, 36, walked away from the Maple Leafs after being scratched from Game 3 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final on Monday.

Toronto trimmed the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-3 in double overtime for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Game 4 goes Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre (7 p.m. ET, CBC).

"Shayne has resigned from the club," Maple Leafs media relations director Pat Park confirmed Tuesday.

Corson, a defensive forward, competed in the first two games yet wound up scratched when Leafs general manager and head coach Pat Quinn opted to employ an extra defenceman for Game 3.

That defenceman turned out to be Phil Housley, who played all of one shift totalling 1:04.

Afterwards, Corson reportedly told Quinn he was leaving the Leafs for good.

"I hope they go all the way and win the Stanley Cup," Corson told the Toronto Sun.

"There are a lot of really good people on the team. I just don't want to be a distraction for them."

"I think it was the right thing for Shayne to do," Rick Curran, Corson's agent, told The Fan 590, a Toronto all-sports radio station.

"Talking to him, he sounds a lot more relieved than he has for quite a while."

According to Leafs teammate and brother-in-law Darcy Tucker, Corson's ulcerative colitis was a factor.

"He talked to me and the rest of the family," Tucker told the Sun.

"Before something snaps and the panic attacks come again, the decision was made to go this way."

"To play for the Maple Leafs is a dream come true," Corson told the Toronto Star.

"But I couldn't be myself. Not around my friends, not around my family.

"I have to get better. And that has to be my priority in my life right now."

At the same time, it was no secret Corson had grown disgruntled over his diminishing role with the Leafs.

"What it came down to was the game wasn't any fun for him," Curran said. "He just felt that he couldn't keep going this way.

"He knew what it was doing to him. As of (Monday), he made the decision he wasn't going to be able to continue (with Toronto)."

Corson competed in only 46 games for the Leafs this season, posting a career-low seven goals and 15 points with 49 penalty minutes.

In February, he was a healthy scratch for the first time in his 19-year NHL career, sitting out seven straight games.

Corson's bitter reaction to being scratched sparked a controversy and, though he resented being benched, accepted it -- begrudingly.

"He felt that if he kept going the way he was going it would have an adverse effect in the locker room," Curran said. "He just couldn't do it anymore."

Corson's three-year, $6.75-million US contract was slated to expire at season's end.

The pact reportedly included a $2.7 million US option for 2003-04 or a $250,000 US buyout.

Expect the native of Barrie, Ont., to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Corson has 268 goals and 683 points with 2,328 penalty minutes in 1,139 games with the Montreal Canadiens (twice), Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues and Maple Leafs.

The three-time all-star (1990, 1994, 1998) has also compiled 38 goals and 86 points with 277 penalty minutes in 133 playoff games.

with files from CP Online