May 25, 2012
Flames ordering shot of JD?
By ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Ken King says the Calgary Flames organization has not talked to John Davidson.
John Davidson says he has not talked to the Flames.
Yet, everybody’s talkin’.
A lot of people have been connecting a lot of dots as the latest rumour surrounding the Flames suggests Davidson is primed to leave his post as president of hockey operations with the St. Louis Blues to take on a similar role in Calgary.
As Davidson told the Sun Thursday, he may in fact end up leaving the Blues alright.
He may return to broadcasting.
He may jump to another club.
He may retire.
Or he may stay in St. Louis to honour the four-year extension he signed with the club months before Tom Stillman’s group took over ownership of the team.
But at this point, Davidson insists none of that has anything to do with the Calgary Flames.
“It’s goofy. I don’t know where (the rumours) came from,” said Davidson from St. Louis, where he’s helped turn a bottom-feeder into one of the NHL’s best young teams.
“I have not talked to the Flames. I’ve had no conversations with them whatsoever. Fact is, we have a new owner who has been here two weeks and I don’t know if he wants me to stay, so I have to look at all my options.
“I have a window in my contract that allows me to seek employment elsewhere after an ownership change. I owe it to my family to look at that, as all indications with the owner not making his mind up are I have to take advantage of that window.”
Davidson said his “window isn’t long” but he may end up leaving and taking six months or a year to decide what he wants to do.
“I won’t discount anything,” he added, opening the door for this sort of speculation.
After all, Davidson grew up in Calgary and played junior for the Centennials here as a goaltender behind Mike Rogers and Danny Gare before being drafted fifth overall by the Blues in 1973. His 10-year career as a player was followed by a Hockey Hall of Fame broadcasting career.
Every summer, he returns to his 75-acre lakefront ranch in nearby Invermere, B.C., for the better part of August for a family reunion of sorts.
He loves Calgary. Always has.
His kids no longer live at home and his talents as an executive and broadcaster could open the door for him to tackle any number of high-profile jobs around the league.
Including, potentially, a gig with the Flames.
“No discussions have taken place with John from anyone in our organization,” said King via email while on vacation.
The Flames haven’t even confirmed they are looking to grow their upper echelon of management. Last summer, they expanded their hockey operations staff to include more scouts and added help for GM Jay Feaster in assistant GM of player personnel John Weisbrod and Craig Conroy.
If the team is looking to further bolster that bunch, there are few who would be a better fit out there than Davidson, who did wonders to help improve the Blues on the ice while adding an important face for a fan base that has seen crowds grow steadily from under 10,000 since he took over six years ago.
Hiring ‘JD’ as director of hockey operations would also allow King — the club president and CEO — to focus on the business side of things, namely the new rink the owners see as a big part of their legacy.
The club has long been dogged by talk King has too much say in hockey decisions and this would further distance him from that.
As the Flames’ ever-expanding empire grows to include the Roughnecks, the Stampeders, an arena and potentially a football stadium, it only stands to reason the franchise would add people like Davidson to its roster.
It makes sense on so many levels.
But right now, it’s just talk — talk both parties involved say they don’t know anything about.