Time to Start Inviting Resumes
Barring a truly extraordinary turnaround, the Maple Leaf season won't include a playoff berth, and that has to mean the Pat Quinn era will be over.
'Course, with MLSE, you never know. Quinn might spend a little time at Larry Tanebaum's cottage this summer and - presto! - just like that he'll have a new five-year contract.
But let's assume two things. Let's assume John Ferguson is safe as Leaf GM, and all indications are that he is, and let's assume he'll finally want to hire his own coach.
Quinn gets bumped up to executive vice-president/special consultant/MLSE schmoozer, and on the show goes, with a 40th anniversary celebration scheduled for next spring to mark four decades since George Armstrong hoisted the Stanley Cup.
Hard to believe, but when I first started covering the Leafs, they were only 23 years removed from their last bit of glory.
Now we're almost at 40 with no Cup in sight.
So who's to be the next coach?
The assumption, and it's a reasonable one is, that Marlies coach Paul Maurice will get the job. That makes a lot of sense. He's got NHL experience, he's media savvy and most of the Marlies who have graduated to the big club this year have helped the team.
So he goes in as the No. 1 contender.
But given that MLSE, in hiring Bryan Colangelo, may have suddenly instituted this new policy of actually going out and finding the best candidate possible, it also seems reasonable that the Leafs should look around a bit.
Here's a few names. Feel free to give your thoughts on them or contribute any others.
BRENT SUTTER: Sure, he may be headed to the Islanders, and maybe he'll never leave Red Deer. But wouldn't you at least want to ask? Wouldn't a Sutter look good behind the bench in Toronto?
MARC HABSCHEID: Has worked at the elite levels of international hockey, has played in the NHL and coached successfully in junior. He is ready for an NHL shot.
DALE HUNTER: His situation in London is similar to that of Sutter in Red Deer. But he has been so successful with the Knights he'd certainly be worth talking to.
PATRICK ROY: Roy will end up coaching in the NHL. He's done a marvellous job as owner, president, GM and head coach of the Quebec Remparts this season.
GREG GILBERT: An associate of JFJ's from their St. Louis days. Coach of the Ice Dogs and Canada's under-18 team. Learned from his first, brief shot with the Flames a few years ago.
PETER LAVIOLETTE: He's with the Canes now, but has no contract beyond this season. He might be a free agent.
MARC CRAWFORD: This could be his last year with the Canucks, although two straight wins over Edmonton have improved his status. Formerly the coach of the Leafs' farm club.
RICK TOCCHET: Might be a bit of a gamble, but. . .okay, just having some fun.