Doug Gilmour will not say whether today’s prospects bring his fire.
His job is to make sure they do.
The Leafs’ great will help coach Team Gilmour at the annual CHL Prospect Game, set for January 19 at Air Canada Centre.
“That can go two ways,” said Gilmour, one of the NHL’s toughest competitors and for the last three years the coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs.
“For some players it’s a matter of developing that. As a coach what you have to do is look a player in the eye and see if it is there. You have to make sure players are prepared going into the game.”
The game is a showcase of draft eligible prospects culled from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. While NHL Central Scouting has a hand in identifying players and assigning them different rosters, it falls to NHL general managers and scouts to determine who plays.
E.J. McGuire, the NHL’s director of scouting cautioned anyone against mistaking this for an all-star or exhibition game.
“You’re going to see a bit of growing in the face-off circle,” he said. “One of the qualities NHL teams are looking for is meanness. They’re playing for keeps out there.”
Present Leaf players have been sprinkled through the game. They include Francois Beauchemin, Colby Armstrong
, Dion Phaneuf
, Luke Schenn
and Nazem Kadri
Players chosen for this year’s edition include Christopher Gibson of Chicoutimi, Regina defenceman Myles Bell, Kitchener forward Tobias Rieder and Dougie Hamilton of the Niagara IceDogs.