By Michael Russo
Yes, I’m back. Yippee do!
I figured I better blog because the smart aleck son of a friend of mine sent me a text message saying, “Think you’ll blog again this year?”
Like father, like son
Back from Hawaii, and Ireland, and I’m ready to go back to each. Two awesome places.
The Brown Fox — Chuck Fletcher — is back in the office after landing this afternoon from Pittsburgh, where he attended Game 3 of the Finals and attended his first official GM’s Meeting — well, as a non-Interim, non-assistant GM — in history. Had to be cool.
What’s Fletcher been up to? Well, while I was in Ireland, he attended the Draft combine in Toronto last weekend, where he interviewed players and dined with the staff, including Tommy Thompson. On Thursday and Friday, he’ll conduct his first pro scouting meetings with Tom Lynn, Blair Mackasey, Jamie Hislop and Todd Woodcroft, among others.
They’ll be talking free agency, trades and likely whether the Wild should tender any offers to their own unrestricted free agents (i.e. Skoula, Veilleux, Bergeron or Foster). We know they’ll go after Gaborik, although it’ll be difficult at this late juncture.
Fletcher has also been working on the coaching search. Same candidates as I’ve mentioned before. Todd Richards is still the frontrunner. I know for a fact Chuck went out to California to interview Richards, and that’s the place he wouldn’t tell me he was calling me back from (remember?).
But I still think he’d want to interview Detroit assistant coach Paul MacLean, who’s a bit busy right now.
If Richards gets the job, possible assistants include Claude Noel, Curt Fraser, Tony Granato and Mike Ramsey. Like I’ve said, I think Matt Shaw and Bob Mason have tremendous shots at being retained.
Lots of news going around the league. Jacques Martin is now the coach in Montreal, leaving Florida at a marvelous time with less than a month before the Draft and free agency.
All sorts of rumors out of Montreal that Mario Tremblay could eventually join Martin on that bench.
Florida will now conduct a full-on GM search, but owner Alan Cohen appears close to selling the team because I’m told that GM candidates are being referred to Alternate Gov. Bill Torrey and Tony Tavares, the former Anaheim Mighty Ducks head who just so happens to be leading the ownership group close to buying the Cats.
Some possible candidates in Fla.? Former Panthers coach Doug MacLean, former Panthers GM Rick Dudley, former Panthers captain Scott Mellanby, Hall of Famer and former Panthers analyst Denis Potvin, former Bruins assistant GM Jeff Gorton, TSN and NBC analyst Pierre McGuire and former Lightning GM Jay Feaster. Maybe former Wild GM Doug Risebrough would be interested, although he’s still on a two-week solo canoe trip, so he may not even know the job’s available
Lastly, aren’t you glad you’re a Wild fan? Imagine being in Colorado. Sorry, but at least Wild owner Craig Leipold conducts a far and wide GM search to get the best possible candidate and then announces him with a little fanfare.
The Avs do what they always do — hire internally.
Greg Sherman — the assistant GM — was hired today to replace Francois Giguere accompanied by the most underwhelming press release announcement ever. From Pierre Lacroix: “Greg Sherman deserves the opportunity to prove he can be an effective general manager in our business.”
I bet Avs fans everywhere are excited after that line.
It was also classy of Lacroix to finally fire Tony Granato after offering his job around the league for a month, including to former Avs star goalie Patrick Roy. Kudos to Denver Post writer Adrian Dater, who’s been all over that story for some time.
Speaking of Dater, he talked to Marc Crawford, who’d be interested in returning there as coach. Dater reports that Joe Sacco’s got an inside shot. Wonder if Jacques Lemaire would be interested, eh?
OK, I’m back on the clock folks. Blogs will be updated more regularly.