Playfair gone to the Dogs?

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

CALGARY - Jim Playfair, the former Calgary Flames head coach who spent the last two seasons guiding the AHL Abbotsford Heat, could be leaving the organization to take an assistant coaching position with the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.

Playfair has been offered a job under Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett, which he has until Friday to accept.

Calls to Playfair Thursday werenít answered, and he didnít return messages.

As of late Thursday afternoon, he hadnít resigned his post with the Flames.

The option year of Playfairís contract was picked up by the Flames in mid-May, but he does have a window of opportunity to pursue and accept an NHL position.

In the past two seasons at the helm of the Abbotsford Heat, Playfair has compiled a 77-61-22 record.

The Heat made the playoffs in their inaugural season and advanced to the second round, but this past season they failed to make the playoffs with a young squad.

Playfair has been part of the Flames organization for more than a decade, taking the head coaching job with the Saint John Flames in 2000-01 and guiding that team to the Calder Cup championship.

Midway through the 2002-03 NHL season, he joined the Flames as an assistant coach after Darryl Sutter took the reins following the firing of Greg Gilbert.

Playfair was head coach of the Flames during the 2006-07 season, during which the team posted a 43-29-10 record, but after the team lost to the Detroit Red Wings in the opening round of the playoffs, he was demoted to associate coach under Mike Keenan for the following two seasons.

To his credit, Playfair handled the situation with great class and willingly accepted the bench-boss position in Abbotsford when the Flames moved their minor-league franchise to B.C.ís Lower Mainland.

Despite having teams loaded with young players on entry-level contracts ó few of whom are expected to become impact NHLers, not to mention dealing with an obscene number of injuries both seasons ó Playfairís squads were competitive.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

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