Fletcher's work is just beginning

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

Interim general manager Cliff Fletcher's hiring spree will not end with coach Ron Wilson.

Fletcher outlined his plan yesterday to hire a new director of player personnel, as well as another senior hockey executive, possibly the post ex-Canucks' GM David Nonis was interviewed for last month.

Mike Penny is moving from player personnel and assistant GM, to pro scouting. Fletcher has let go pro scout Shawn Simpson and hired ex-NHLer Pat Conacher from the Phoenix Coyotes. He'll retain Don Granato and hire a fourth pro scout.

For now, Dave Morrison and the amateur scouting department will remain intact, Fletcher believing they've had no chance to shine with all the lost first-round picks in recent years.

WILSON'S PLAN

Wilson says he has a "plan A and plan B and a bit of plan C" for picking an assistant coach, perhaps depending on who gets out of their contract at the end of June.

In keeping with their unorthodox hiring process, the Leafs have insisted Wilson keep Keith Acton on staff rather than have two coaches of his own choosing, while finding new duties for Dallas Eakins, another of Paul Maurice's assistants.

The one assistant the Leafs did let go, Randy Ladouceur, actually played for Wilson with the expansion Ducks. But Wilson insists he can incorporate the old staff.

"I know Keith from playing with him in Minnesota. I used to beat him all the time on the golf course. Make sure you put that in."

CRAWFORD GETS AXED

Marc Crawford was fired as coach of the Los Angeles Kings yesterday after his team finished with the fewest points in the Western Conference this season.

He spent two seasons with the team and had a year left on his contract.

"In the end it just comes down to fit," Kings president and general manager Dean Lombardi said in a conference call yesterday afternoon. "It's just a gut call on fit."

Lombardi said in post-season meetings he and Kings owners have decided to get younger rather than try to create an immediate cup contender, and Crawford wasn't the coach to do it.

WILD ABOUT BERGERON

The Minnesota Wild acquired defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron from the Anaheim Ducks for a third-round draft pick yesterday.

BABCOCK EXTENDED?

An NHL source tells The Associated Press that Mike Babcock and the Detroit Red Wings have agreed to a three-year contract for the Stanley Cup-winning coach.

The person spoke last night on the condition of anonymity because the team planned an 11 a.m. news conference to announce the deal today.


Photos