The Maple Leafs' next coaching staff could be killer.
While it might be a long shot, Doug Gilmour made it clear yesterday he is ready to move closer to the action.
For the past two seasons, Gilmour has been the Leafs' player development adviser and has spent most of the club's home games watching from the press box. But the 44-year-old, whose last NHL game as a player was in 2003 with Toronto, wants to take his hockey knowledge behind then bench and become a coach. A role as an assistant coach is Gilmour's aspiration.
"I think the time is right," Gilmour said yesterday from his cottage near Kingston. "I've been five years out of the game (as a player) and you need that. But I want to get back into it.
"I'm not looking for a head coaching job. It's all baby steps, like it has been with working in management. At the same time, I know where I want to go, whether it is in the pros or the minors.
"It's hard to say right now what will happen and I won't really know until a new general manager and coach are hired."
There's no telling yet what the Leafs coaching staff will look like when camp opens in September, other than it will include Keith Acton, who was retained when Paul Maurice and Randy Ladouceur were fired last week. Another assistant, Dallas Eakins, has been asked to work in another capacity in the organization, and interim general manager Cliff Fletcher said yesterday he plans to talk to Eakins next week.
Once a new GM is hired, the next step will be to bring in a coach. Gilmour will be looking for an interview.
"We've talked about it and we know Doug would like to get into coaching," Fletcher said. "We would arrange for him to meet with the (new GM and/or coach)."
The Leafs' search for a GM, meanwhile, is on hiatus for the holiday weekend.