Gilmour adjusts to life as coach

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Try as he might, Doug Gilmour just can't capture that same feeling he had as a player now that he's a coach.

It's not that Gilmour isn't as passionate behind the bench of the Kingston Frontenacs as he was when he was playing for 20 years in the NHL, but he has found there's a major difference between participating and watching.

"On the competitive side, you take a back seat," Gilmour said during a conference call yesterday. "As a player, that helmet went on, and I was a complete idiot. It didn't matter if you were a friend of mine or not.

"As a coach, you can't do that and you have to be in control. There's a lot of mental anguish."

Gilmour the player will be honoured by the Maple Leafs tomorrow night prior to their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Air Canada Centre when his No. 93 is raised to the rafters by the club. Take away the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons and it's probable the ceremony wouldn't be happening. But take those two years into account, especially what Gilmour did in the playoffs, and there has not been a more significant player to wear the Toronto sweater for decades.

If Gilmour had bottled some of that magic of those two years, he would likely sprinkle a little dust on the Frontenacs. Since he took over in Kingston in November, the Frontenacs have gone 4-18-1-2. Overall, they have nine wins and are in last place in the 20-team Ontario Hockey League with 26 points.

What will he be doing five years from now? Gilmour is not sure. Since retiring from the NHL in September of 2003, Gilmour entered into a number of business ventures, including mortgage and building homes, and spent time in the Leafs' front office.

But Gilmour didn't take the job in Kingston to be just another pretty face. He will be back behind the Kingston bench next season if the organization will have him back.

"I'm committed for next year," Gilmour, 45, said. "We have some great kids here and I should have 16 or 17 guys coming back.

"It's hard. Our guys have worked their butts off.

"This has been an experience I needed. It's a challenge and I know there is a lot of work to be done."

Gilmour, not surprisingly, said his parents, Don and Dolly, will be singled out among others when he is handed the microphone tomorrow night. He noted, with a laugh, that his dad's advice has changed.

"From Day 1 in the NHL until I was 40 years old, he kept telling me how to play," Gilmour said. "Now he's telling me how to coach."


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