From Don to Dan, perhaps?

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

The Danny Maciocia rumours are going to keep swirling for weeks.

In fact, on the second day of the post-Don Matthews era in Montreal, the rumour mill has been pushed into a much higher gear than ever before.

A very high-ranking CFL source is extremely confident that Maciocia will leave the Eskimos at the end of this season to become the next head coach in Montreal.

"Everything I hear says that Danny will be going back to Montreal (at the end of the season)," the source told the Sun.

"Jim Popp (the Als' general manager) likes him, the French fans like him and they need to do something popular after all the stuff that Don's done."

PERMISSION NEEDED

Of course, if the Montreal Alouettes' front office is interested in Maciocia and wants to go through the proper and ethical channels, somebody will have to call the Eskimos for permission to talk.

The second-year Edmonton head coach with deep Quebec roots is under contract for another year with the Green and Gold.

Apparently nobody within the Als has picked up the phone, yet - but widely respected Montreal football TV analyst Pierre Vercheval would be making that call if he were running the Alouettes.

"I would certainly call the Eskimos and ask permission to talk to Danny," said Vercheval, who works for RDS, the French-language equivalent of TSN.

"I can't see why not.

"I would certainly inquire and see what his plan (is) and what he wants to do in the future."

Listening to Vercheval's reasoning, Maciocia is the perfect candidate, if current general manager and new coach Jim Popp doesn't remain on the sidelines at the end of the season.

"Obviously, Danny has proven that he is a winner, winning the Grey Cup already with Edmonton and he has done a good job," continued Vercheval.

"That's the first criteria, for sure. But the gravy on top of that is that he's from the area."

A Montreal native, Maciocia has always been viewed as the heir apparent in Quebec whenever Matthews left the organization.

KEY FACTORS

Breaking into the CFL coaching ranks with Montreal nearly a decade ago, Maciocia has so many key factors in his favour: proven friendship base with Popp and owner Robert Wetenhall, strong recruiting ties within Quebec and the clear ability to soothe a frosty relationship that has developed between the Als' organization and the Montreal media thanks largely to Matthews' reign.

That explains why his phone has practically been ringing off the hook in the last 24 hours.

"I don't even know how many (calls) - there were quite a few," said Maciocia yesterday afternoon.

"And some of them I haven't even returned yet.

"Some of it was media, some of it was friends, some were family members down there - and it is all the same questions."

Not surprisingly, the 39-year-old bench boss is still trying to downplay rumours.

"I plan on being here for a few more years," he publicly stated yesterday.

FINISH LINES: Maciocia's name isn't the only one being thrown around for a possible Montreal job. Marcel Bellefeuille (Montreal assistant), Jacques Chapdelaine (B.C. Lion assistant), Charlie Taffe (American college) and Dave Ritchie (B.C. Lion assistant) are also being mentioned.


Videos

Photos