Hockey Fan Forums banner

1 - 1 of 1 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,388 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The right note: The other GMs may be circling, but the way his team is playing these days, the Blues' John Davidson isn't ready to give up on the playoffs just yet
Joe O'connor in St. Louis, National Post
Published: Tuesday, February 06, 2007


He was always the jock, the old goaltender turned broadcaster with the bushy moustache, the big voice, and the NHL sources that made him a star of the Satellite Hot Stove.

Ron MacLean, the host of Hockey Night in Canada's second- intermission gabfest, was ice cream and apple pie, the real nice-guy Canadian. Al Strachan, no longer a part of the panel, played the crotchety old crank; Eric Duhatschek was, and is, the egghead. But J.D., he was cool. He had actually played the game. And whether he was talking about possible trades or coaches on the chopping block, we knew he was plugged in.

And now John Davidson is in --all the way in-- a broadcasting barbarian who has broken down the gates of an NHL front office and ascended to the presidency of the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues' top hockey executive was at his desk in the Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis yesterday morning, looking thicker around the waist and a lot more weary around the eyes than J.D. the Broadcaster ever did. He was back at work after his first day off in almost six weeks, one that Davidson had spent on the couch, watching television and trying to catch his breath.

The 53-year-old says he is sleeping better now than he did in the summer when he accepted the job with the Blues -- a team that finished last in the NHL in 2005-06.

"The first day on the job was July 1, 7 a.m. -- the start of free agency -- and the first thing I did was walk in to [general manager] Larry Pleau's office.

"We had the sheets up, and you have room for two goalies, four forward lines and four sets of defencemen. And there were 10 empty slots on our sheets. Ten. Ten! So we were scrambling."

On Day 1, Davidson landed defenceman Jay McKee. On Day 2 he signed Doug Weight, and the day after that, Bill Guerin and Dan Hinote came aboard. Goaltender Manny Legace and forward Martin Rucinsky joined in August, and suddenly the Blues went from a nowhere team, with no players, to a team with some star talent and a veteran presence.

"J.D. wanted to turn this thing around not three years from now, but immediately," Guerin says.

And even if it didn't turn around immediately -- and it really didn't -- Davidson had lined his roster with veteran players, such as Guerin and Legace, with one-year contracts who would theoretically prove attractive to a contender when the trade deadline approached.

And therein lay the beauty of the broadcaster's off-season makeover of the Blues: In building for the present, he was also hedging his bets for a future where the old guard could be swapped out, a la Weight to Carolina at last season's deadline for draft picks and prospects.

"I got a call from a GM on the West Coast on the way in to work today, and I get calls from the East Coast every d ay," Davidson says of the interest in his tradeable veterans.

He expects the calls to increase in frequency as the NHL's Feb. 27 trade deadline draws near. The Blues' playoff hopes are currently on life support, thanks to a resuscitation that began once Davidson fired head coach Mike Kitchen and replaced him with Andy Murray.

FULL STORY
 
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
Top