No room for Gilmour

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Doug Gilmour's desire to re-invent himself as a coach could lead the Maple Leafs icon to another National Hockey League team.

While the Leafs are trying to accommodate their former captain and franchise playoff scoring leader, there might not be any immediate opportunities for him here. Gilmour, 44, declared his new ambition in the past few months before officially ending two years as player development adviser on Tuesday when Joe Nieuwendyk was hired as Cliff Fletcher's special assistant.

But Gilmour's lengthy meeting with new head coach Ron Wilson last month did not see him added to the staff with Rob Zettler and Tim Hunter (Wilson's San Jose assistants who are headed here), with Keith Acton surviving the Pat Quinn/Paul Maurice firings as the third man on the team.

Greg Gilbert, who took the AHL Marlies to the brink of the Calder Cup final, is entrenched at Ricoh Coliseum and could be a future Leafs head coach. The only possible opening could be as a Marlies assistant with Jim Hughes, who currently shares duties with Joe Paterson, being interviewed for an NHL position this summer.

"I'm starting at the back, like everyone else, taking baby steps," Gilmour said yesterday after returning from a cottage vacation. "I'm just looking at what might be possible."

Fletcher said everything would be done to keep Gilmour in the fold in some capacity, but conceded the right fit might not be here.

"We gave him an opportunity that he didn't feel was right at the time, that he still has in the back of his mind," Fletcher said yesterday.

Gilmour played 1,474 games for seven NHL teams and collected 1,414 points before a knee injury forced his retirement just as he was traded back to the Leafs in 2003. Former GM John Ferguson gave him a chance in the front office in 2006 and Gilmour's duties took him from scouting missions in Russia to 9-to-5 office work. But he realized coaching was his passion.

"When I got back into hockey as assistant coach at the Spengler Cup (Canada won the four-team Christmas holiday tournament in Davos, Switzerland), I knew that was more up my alley," Gilmour said. "I enjoyed player development and the chance that John gave me. It will be a big help to me and I might go in that direction again some day.

"But I hope to have a good chat with Cliff again and see where I could go next."

Gilmour said he would also welcome a shot somewhere in the junior ranks. He has been mentioned as a possible member of an ownership group seeking to buy the OHL Oshawa Generals.


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