Flames thought about Hitchin' wagon to coach
ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency
|Ken Hitchcock looks on during a game against the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., Oct. 10, 2009. (CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/Getty Images/AFP)
CALGARY - Long before the St. Louis Blues looked into hiring Ken Hitchcock or the Columbus Blue Jackets considered bringing him back, the Calgary Flames had looked into the possibility.
No, not as coach, but as assistant GM.
As the club did its due diligence last summer while looking for a bright hockey mind to help Jay Feaster, we understand the club had informal talks with ol’ Hitch.
In the end, the extensive list of possibilities was whittled down to John Weisbrod, a Harvard-educated executive fresh off a Stanley Cup win with the Boston Bruins.
And because of it, the hockey world got a good couple weeks of solid Hitchcock rumours out of Columbus before the veteran coach was plucked by the sagging Blues Sunday night.
Now for more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world wondering if anyone else knew the Detroit minor hockey team Ryan Kesler and David Booth played on together as youngsters also included Oilers revelation Corey Potter and Detroit’s Drew Miller.
AROUND THE HORN
As if the lost souls participating in Occupy Calgary weren’t annoying enough, the Vancouver equivalent is so out of control it will actually force organizers to re-route the Santa Claus parade. Now we learn it will also negatively impact the lives of the 50 good souls who will travel west later this month as part of the Calgary Grey Cup Committee. Because the city doesn’t have the guts to force the protesters to move from their camp, Grey Cup officials in Vancouver had to move the venue at which the Calgary volunteers annually serve up Stampede breakfasts Thursday and Friday at every Grand National Drunk. Instead, they’ll now have to host such western hospitality on the Friday and Saturday, which directly conflicts with the Grey Cup parade held the day before the big game. So, instead of partaking in the parade festivities, the bulk of the group will have to miss what is always one of the highlights of their year … Great headline in the Toronto Sun after Tyler Seguin’s hat trick Saturday: “Seguin and again and again.” … How odd that a Nashville Predators franchise that has long been known for being devoid of stars now has two players making US$7 million a year … The Nuge and The Newf. Funny how no one is talking about Buffalo Sabres forward Luke Adam, who just so happens to be tied for the NHL rookie scoring lead with some kid named Nugent-Hopkins in Edmonton. Adam has almost a point a game — four goals, seven assists in 13 games — despite playing two minutes less a night than RNH. As an aside, the 21-year-old Newfoundlander’s father Russ played eight games for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Remember the name Hunter Shinkaruk. You’ve read it in this space before and you’ll read it plenty more in the future. Although still more than a year away from being eligible for the NHL Entry Draft, the 17-year-old Medicine Hat Tigers sniper from Calgary had six points — three goals and three assists — in one game, en route to being named WHL player of the week. In his second season in the Hat, Shinkaruk now has 18 goals and 25 points in 19 games so far this season … At this rate we may not need to mandate visors as the Hockey News reports 69.4% of all NHLers currently sport eye protection, up from 58.5% a year earlier. Ten years ago, only 28% of all players wore them … Some great Canadians will be congregating at the sparkling new Canadian Sports Hall of Fame at C.O.P. Tuesday when the Class of 2011 is brought in for a press conference. Hockey legend Ray Bourque, kicker Lui Passaglia, soccer star Andrea Neil, triathlon/ironman champ Peter Reid, Paralympic great Lauren Woolstencroft and IOC big shot Dick Pound will all be greeted by past inductee Ken Read. Several hours later, the induction dinner goes at the Telus Convention Centre and tickets are still available.
- Eric Francis appears regularly as a panellist on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.