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Ducks Remove Ftorek, Burns From Their List

May 22, 1997|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM — Life moved on for the Mighty Ducks and former coach Ron Wilson on Wednesday, one day after they parted ways.

General Manager Jack Ferreira scratched the names of Robbie Ftorek and Pat Burns from his list of possible replacements for Wilson, whose contract was not renewed after four seasons.

New Jersey General Manager Lou Lamoriello would not grant Ferreira permission to speak to Ftorek, who remains under contract with the Devils as an assistant coach.

Burns was hired Wednesday by the Boston Bruins.

Al Sims, a former Duck assistant who was fired by the San Jose Sharks last month, said he hasn't been contacted by Ferreira. He has several leads on head coaching positions in the International Hockey League and assistant coaching jobs in the NHL.

The name of Craig Hartsburg emerged as a potential candidate Wednesday morning, but by the afternoon it appeared he was not leaving the Blackhawks any time soon. Hartsburg is under contract for another season in Chicago.

Wilson will soon speak with Phoenix General Manager Bobby Smith about replacing Don Hay, fired after the Ducks defeated the Coyotes in the Western Conference quarterfinals last month. Phoenix and Pittsburgh are among the early contenders for Wilson's services.

Lamoriello, Wilson's coach at Providence College, said he hasn't spoken to Wilson. The Devils' coaching situation is unclear, what with Lamoriello adopting a cagey stance to questions about the return of Jacques Lemaire next season.

"If I did speak to Ron it would only be in the capacity of friendship," Lamoriello told the Bergen (N.J.) Record.

Reached at home, Wilson seemed cheerful, upbeat.

"When doors close, others open," he said. "Geez, other people feel worse about this than I do. God, it's like a funeral march. A funeral march is when you see a pine box.

"I leave with my head held high. I hope other people respect the job I've done and will contact me. I'm fortunate some jobs are open at the moment."

No matter where he ends up, and he's almost certain to land another NHL job, Wilson said he probably will bring assistant Tim Army with him. Army's contract also was not renewed.

"I'd like to be able to do that," Wilson said of hiring Army. "I appreciate Tim's loyalty over the years. Tim shouldn't have been caught in the cross fire. I won't let Tim down."

Phoenix would be an ideal job for Wilson, particularly because of his admiration for forwards Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk. He coached Tkachuk during Team USA's victory in the World Cup of Hockey last September.

Plus, Wilson intends to maintain his family's Orange County residence until his youngest daughter, Lauren, graduates from high school next year. Phoenix is but an hour's flight away.

The phones in the Duck offices at the Pond didn't exactly ring off the hook with callers angry with the decision not to renew Wilson's contract. But there were a few miffed fans, including one who left a message for "the big jerk" on Ferreira's voice mail.

"When I called back, I told the guy, 'It's the big jerk calling,' " Ferreira said, laughing.

Ferreira made other calls too, compiling a preliminary list of candidates.

"Sure, I'd like to get this done as quickly as possible," he said. "There are a lot of jobs open and after a while the candidates are going to dwindle."

Naming a new coach is a priority, he said, but there are other moves to be made. One involved informing veteran forward Jari Kurri that the Ducks will not pick up their $1.5 million option for next season.

Kurri, who needs four goals to become the eighth player in NHL history to score 600, could be re-signed at a lower salary figure.

"In fairness to him, I wanted him to know as soon as possible, so that if there are other offers he can pursue them," Ferreira said. "He does some things that help us. I would like to have him back, but we'll see about other free agents. And we'll be talking trades in a few weeks."

Wilson's departure isn't expected to impact the Ducks' efforts to re-sign other free agents, including all-stars Paul Kariya and Guy Hebert. They are restricted free agents and the Ducks can match any offer from other teams.

Kariya, Hebert and Teemu Selanne were on vacation Wednesday and unavailable for comment.

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