One-on-one with Joe Nieuwendyk

Joe Nieuwendyk was named Leafs’ Special Assistant to the General Manager prior to the start of the 2008-09 season. In 2003-04, Nieuwendyk collected 50 points in 64 games played with Toronto.

Q: How much are you looking forward to the opportunity to work with Dave Nonis?
A: I don’t really know him that well, but I’m looking forward to getting to know him. I know that he has done very good things in his career with Brian Burke, they have a history together. So I’m looking forward to working with him.

Q: Have you noticed any changes in your role since Brian Burke was hired?
A: No, I don’t think so. It’s been really busy for Brian too, just getting himself situated here. I’m sure when things settle down here, we’ll all have great discussions and we’ll all move forward.

Q: You and outgoing GM Cliff Fletcher go all the way back to Calgary. What has his mentorship meant to you?
A: Well I don’t know who doesn’t have anything good to say about Cliff. He’s terrific. He’s a very smart hockey man, and his credentials speak for themselves. But the thing I’ve always admired about Cliff is that he really makes it feel like everybody’s a part of it, and treats everybody the same. He’s just a first-class guy and a smart hockey man.

Q: Was six games an appropriate punishment for Sean Avery?
A: I’m more curious to see how the Dallas Stars handle the situation. Their coach and other members of their team have made some comments that may make it difficult for him to be welcomed back into that locker room. So we’ll see how that plays out.

Rob Del Mundo is the author of Off The Post, a regular column at