Best buddies leading the way
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, Ottawa Sun
They are fierce competitors and close friends. Team Canada's coaching staff of Pat Quinn (Toronto), Jacques Martin (Florida), Ken Hitchcock and Wayne Fleming (both with Philadelphia) took their rivalry to the golf course yesterday with a match at The Marshes in Kanata following practice.
Quinn and Martin teamed up against the Broad Street Bullies (Hitchcock and Fleming) for the second in a series of matches which started earlier this summer during meetings in Banff. Still, Hitchcock wasn't taking this one lightly.
"I hate playing those guys," said Hitchcock. "I always have to give them a bunch of strokes. Then, they get out there and beat me."
All four will be back to work today with one common goal: Trying to have success with Team Canada at the World Cup. The clock is ticking down to Canada's first World Cup game on Aug. 31.
Though these guys fight tooth and nail for positioning in the Eastern Conference during the season, none of them had to think twice when executive director Wayne Gretzky called to see if they were interested in coaching Canada again.
"What we have is a mutual respect for each other and we're all good friends," said Hitchcock. "Yes, we're very competitive and we all want to beat each other during the season. But when Jacques got fired by Ottawa, we all rallied around him and give him our support because he's our friend.
"That doesn't mean I don't want to beat him or I don't want to beat Pat when we play against Toronto. But when we walk through that door we're all working for Team Canada and we're all together. That being said, I'm looking forward to some tough games with Jacques in Florida."
Quinn said he likes the combination of coaches. Everybody has a specific role. Hitchcock takes care of the defence and, this might shock Ottawa fans, but Martin is responsible for the club's offence. Why not? The Senators were the highest-scoring team in the NHL the last three years.
AROUND THE BOARDS: Calgary G Miikka Kiprusoff finally had his arbitration hearing Friday and there are indications it got nasty with the Flames. The word is Calgary GM Darryl Sutter tried to convince the arbitrator that the Sharks dealt Kiprusoff because he'd lost his backup job in San Jose. That's not the case: Both sides agreed he should be dealt because San Jose was going with Evgeni Nabokov as a starter and Kiprusoff needed to play. Kiprusoff was also upset that he was forced to missed two days of the Finnish camp for the World Cup because of the timing of the hearing ... Don't be surprised if the Senators announce the signing of LW Vaclav Varada in the next 10 days. The club is simply waiting on the paperwork of the one-year deal it offered last month. Talks with RW Martin Havlat are ongoing ... Quinn said he'll try to use all 26 players in the exhibition games. "That's the plan. I don't know how we're going to do that, but that's what we're looking at. We'd like to get everybody at least one game. We're not going to be able to use everybody in the tournament, but we want to give everyone a chance to play," said Quinn ... Canada stuck with the same line combinations yesterday, but they'll have a different look today. That could be in preparation for the exhibition game against Team USA tomorrow in Columbus and the return match at the Corel Centre Wednesday. "We're going to change some things and see how they look. Hopefully, by the end of the week, we'll have some lines in place that we're going to go with. But, I want to see how different guys look with each other," said Quinn ... New Jersey G Martin Brodeur told reporters coach Pat Burns is still undergoing treatment for cancer, but isn't sure if he'll be back behind the bench next season. "I hear he's doing well," said Brodeur. "Hopefully everything will be fine."