Paul Titanic played just one game of pro hockey, but the former University of Toronto coach will be feeling the part of superstar at the NHL draft on Friday night in Ottawa.
Three of his boys from the Markham Waxers minor hockey teams he coached forever will surely be selected in the first round of the draft.
He will be sitting in the stands at Scotiabank Place as an invited guest of everyone's No. 1 draft choice, Steven Stamkos, whom he coached for seven years. After Stamkos goes No. 1 overall to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Titanic might have to wait a while before centre Cody Hodgson, ranked ninth by Central Scouting and defenceman Michael Del Zotto, mistakenly ranked 15th, are chosen.
"It's amazing to see how these guys have gone from kids playing for fun to becoming serious hockey players," said Titanic, who coached Del Zotto for five years and Hodgson for four. "When we were coming up, people always said that the 1990 age group in Ontario was very strong. We'd kind of say, 'Wow, what a year.' But I don't think we knew how good it really was."
A bane of his existence as a minor hockey coach was defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, who will also be among the top picks Friday night.
Titanic does offer up one tout for next weekend's draft: He believes another Markham lad, defenceman Cameron Gaunce, is vastly underrated, ranked 91st.
"Mark my words," said Titanic. "Whoever gets him is getting a really good defenceman. Somebody should jump up and take him early."
This and that
If Alex Ovechkin's mother is his agent, shouldn't she tell him to shave that awful-looking playoff beard? ... An Internet poll asks whether Richard Peddie is to blame for the Leafs' lacklustre performance. And the results, not surprisingly, give King Richard a rousing 78% majority for his bungling ability ... The Brian Burke the Maple Leafs are waiting for isn't perfect. If he was, he wouldn't have signed Todd Bertuzzi as a free agent and traded Andy McDonald away for Doug Weight ... The language-challenged Pavel Datsyuk on the Red Wings' Stanley Cup party: "I remember going to the party but I don't remember coming home." ... Small world: if Craig Hartsburg isn't injured in 1985, then an agent named Burke doesn't call to Europe to bring a defenceman named Ron Wilson to the Minnesota North Stars. If none of that happens, there is no NHL coaching career for Wilson. Now, Hartsburg gets hired to coach archrival Ottawa, Wilson is in Toronto and Burke will eventually be his boss ... Missing from the Stanley Cup final: The sound officiating judgment of Dan Marouelli and Bill McCreary. They understand the flow of NHL hockey games. Too many officials don't.
Hear and there
If Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo can make a deal to send T.J. Ford to the L.A. Clippers for scoring guard Corey Maggette, then he should do so immediately. As a second scoring option, Maggette would make life easier for Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani ... The power numbers for Scott Rolen and Alex Rios are close to embarrassing ... How great was Bobby Orr? Great enough to score 100 or more points in each the six seasons when he managed to play at least 70 games. Only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Marcel Dionne, Mike Bossy and Peter Stastny have more 100-point seasons. All of them were forwards with significantly longer and healthier careers. ... Perfect title for a Roger Clemens movie: Dork and Mindy.
Scene and heard
So Tennessee Titans wide receiver Brandon Jones is packing for his trip to Phoenix. Underwear? Yep. Socks? Yep. Deodorant? Yep? Handgun? Yep. What a moron ... Good for Steve Molitor to be back with promoter Allan Tremblay. Not so good for Molitor is his split from trainer Chris Johnson, who wanted to head to the U.S. in search of more money ... Poor Andre Durie. Every time he looks like he's about to make a breakthrough running the ball for the Argos, he breaks something. This time, his thumb ... The bottom line on Jorge Garbajosa: A whole lot of poor decisions, medical and otherwise, means his career is all but over and the Raptors lose one of those pieces that are impossible to replace ... Paul Maurice interviewed for the Florida Panthers' coaching job before his close friend, Peter DeBoer, was hired for the post. Wonder now if DeBoer has enough confidence in himself to bring Maurice in as an assistant coach ... A lot of NHL people pushed hard for the Leafs to hire NHL VP Colin Campbell as GM, but clearly the Leafs have other ideas.
And another thing...
Senator Larry Campbell's proposed bill to save the CFL is so pathetic even the CFL is distancing itself from it. If Senator Campbell has his way, we'll probably have to relinquish cable, be forced to watch Genie Award-nominated movies and be told it was all in the name of Canada ... That great Canadian institution Campbell wants to preserve is mostly run by Americans, coached by Americans and played by Americans. But he forget to mention that part ... Riddle me this, Batman: How come the San Francisco Giants are better without Barry Bonds than they were with him? ... If I'm buying tickets for one ball game this season, it's today at Rogers Centre. Father's Day. The Cubs in Toronto. Ted Lilly pitching. John Gibbons poised to charge the mound at any moment ... The best baseball trade in years: Cincinnati sends Josh Hamilton to Texas for pitcher Edinson Volquez. Now look up the numbers ... Are the Buffalo Bills at all worried that star running back Marshawn Lynch, being investigated for a hit-and-run involving an Ontario woman, won't be able play in Bills' games in Toronto? ... And hey, whatever became of Greg Hotham?