While the National Hockey League's general managers convened in Pebble Beach, Calif., for a couple of days, Craig Button was a few states to the east, visiting a friend in Dallas and attending the Cowboys --Green Bay Packers game.
Not long ago, Button would have been part of such meetings. The 44-year-old was the Calgary Flames' general manager from 2000-03 and his name surfaced when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Phoenix Coyotes were looking for a GM earlier this year.
But Button, who left his position as a pro scout with the Maple Leafs at the end of June, does not regret departing the Toronto organization without a job waiting.
"It's not so much about missing (a hockey job)," said Button, who lives in Calgary and has been doing some radio work, with some television work likely coming in the future. "It has been good to take a step back."
Button fully expects to be a GM in the NHL again one day but is not discouraged by the recent talk that former players seem to be more likely to fill positions once they become vacant. Of the NHL's 31 general managers (including the tandem of Les Jackson and Brett Hull in Dallas), 13 did not wear an NHL sweater at some point.
"Not at all," Button said. "There's not one particular background that dictates whether you will have success or failure. What it comes down to is knowing what the job is, what the talents are and making them fit."
Button, meanwhile, is not gloating over the possible firing of Leafs GM John Ferguson.
"I've never wished anybody to fail," Button said. "And I don't draw any satisfaction from seeing people fail."
Daniel Carcillo knows a thing or two about getting his nose dirty, so it's not a shock the Phoenix forward was leading the NHL with 107 penalty minutes.
But Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky sees more in the 22-year-old, who was suspended for a total of 38 OHL games when he played for the Mississauga IceDogs in 2004-05.
"He brings a lot of passion and he brings a lot of energy, and I don't want to take any of that away from him, but I also think he has the ability to be a real good NHL player," Gretzky said. "He has matured a lot here in six months."
Carcillo played in 18 games for the Coyotes last season.
"I got a lot of (penalty) minutes," said Carcillo, who had four goals and seven assists in the Coyotes' first 22 games. "It's not on purpose. I have to be a little more cautious and pick my spots better."
Six NHL forwards -- Jonathan Toews (Chicago), Sam Gagner (Edmonton), David Perron (St. Louis), James Sheppard (Minnesota), Milan Lucic (Boston) and Jordan Staal (Pittsburgh) -- are eligible to play for Canada at the world junior later this month in the Czech Republic. While there's no way Toews and Gagner will be made available, it will not be a surprise if none are.