Summit Series wouldn't work

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

A participant in the 1972 Summit Series says it would be difficult to bring back the magic of those 27 days that September.

John Ferguson Sr., the former Montreal Canadiens tough guy and an assistant coach to Harry Sinden behind the Team Canada bench in '72, doubts history can be repeated.

Speaking from his home in Windsor, Ferguson, said he admires former Russian goalie Vladislav Tretiak for coming up with the idea, but believes the days of the "Big Red Machine" have passed.

"I don't think it's the worst idea in the world, but I just don't think you could ever repeat the same kind of drama that we had during that series in 1972," said Ferguson, a special consultant to San Jose Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson.

"Let's face it, the Russians just aren't what they used to be. The Finns, Swedes, Americans and Czechs have all produced some pretty good hockey players as well. The Russians just aren't the great unknown that they were when we met."

Ferguson is well-remembered in the 1972 series for telling Bobby Clarke in Game 6 that Russian star Valery Kharlamov might need "a tap on the ankle."

Clarke broke Kharlamov's ankle with a wicked slash.

But that kind of emotion wouldn't exist if this series was repeated.

"It would be awfully difficult to get it to that level with everything involved now," said Ferguson.

OFF THE GLASS

Columbus Blue Jackets president and GM Doug MacLean is being given a 50-50 chance by NHL insiders of returning to the Jackets next season. While MacLean hasn't gotten the club to the playoffs, his contract could protect him because it's believed it would cost $1.6 million US for owner John McConnell to ask MacLean to move on. Still, the hiring of coach Ken Hitchcock could help MacLean if he can find a way to get the right players in place. He could also be simply booted upstairs and only serve as president. Possible replacements: Maple Leafs assistant GM Craig Button and Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM Rick Dudley ... Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman is expected to name St. Louis Blues bench boss Andy Murray as his coach for the world championship, which will be held later this month in Moscow. Murray is the only coach to lead Canada to two world championship titles. Yzerman, who is also expected to bring along Boston assistant coach Marc Habscheid, is focused on trying to get players.

AROUND THE BOARDS

The Detroit Red Wings haven't ruled out bringing back G Dominik Hasek next season. "I'm very open about (Hasek) coming back and playing for us next year," GM Ken Holland told the Detroit News. "We're gonna address that after the playoffs. Let's let the entire year play out. But certainly it's a very real possibility." Hasek said he will discuss the matter with his family after the season ... Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella turned up the heat on himself last week by guaranteeing the club will make the post-season. "I believe what I said. I stand by it," said Tortorella.

RUMOURS DU JOUR

There's little chance the Habs will be able to re-sign D Sheldon Souray. He will be one of the most sought-after blueliners on the free-agent market. Don't be surprised if the Kings, Avalanche, Stars, Sharks and Ducks make a pitch for him on July 1 ... Tampa D Luke Richardson, who has been a healthy scratch lately and helping the coaching staff in the press box, plans to play next season ... The heat has also been turned up on Phoenix GM Michael Barnett. He has four years left on his contract, but the talk is the organization needs an overhaul. The rumour mill has Vancouver Canucks assistant GM Steve Tambellini taking over ... Tampa GM Jay Feaster said the club's payroll will not go above $40 million next season even if the cap goes up, but insists he won't deal Fs Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier or Martin St. Louis. A league source said Feaster can expect call from the Habs, who are expected to take another run at Lecavalier.

Have a nice Sunday.


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