The man with the closest connection to John Ferguson has affirmed his interest in becoming the new coach of the Toronto Marlies' minor-pro farm team.
But ex-Marlie junior Greg Gilbert has no idea of where he stands in the field, which includes fellow Ontario Hockey League coach Peter DeBoer and possibly, some current Maple Leafs staffers.
Leafs general manager Ferguson made it official yesterday that he won't renew Doug Shedden's contract, which was almost fait accompli after the latter failed Ferguson's final exam: Losing in the first round of the American Hockey League playoffs. Also let go yesterday were longtime assistant coaches Kevin McClelland and Russ Adam.
Gilbert coached the Worcester IceCats, the farm team of the St. Louis Blues, when Ferguson was the GM under Blues senior vice-president Larry Pleau. Gilbert, once head coach of the Calgary Flames, is now with the Mississauga Ice Dogs with a year to go in his contract. Some have predicted a Ferguson-Gilbert reunion in Toronto is inevitable, but there's nothing concrete yet.
"I've not talked to anyone," Gilbert said last night. "It's something I'm definitely interested in, but right now, I'm focused on the OHL draft on Saturday.
"John and I had a good working relationship in Worcester. He had a lot of good ideas for the team."
Among the grads they sent to the Blues were Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, Brent Johnson and Bryce Salvador.