DETROIT – The opportunity to become a general manager, especially for a storied franchise like the Montreal Canadiens, was enticing to Jim Nill.
But Nill, the assistant GM of the Detroit Red Wings, passed on the chance. He felt this was not the ideal time for the move, due to an illness in his family.
"I had two great talks with Montreal; I was interested, they were interested,'' Nill said. "But it's not the right time.''
Nill does not have an out clause in his contract this season, but the Canadiens called Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch for permission to speak to him.
Ilitch gave Nill his blessing, telling him the organization appreciates his years of service and his loyalty and that it would not prevent him from joining the Canadiens.
Nill has been the team's assistant GM under Ken Holland for 14 seasons and has spent 18 years in the Red Wings' front office. He runs the amateur scouting department and oversees the selections at the entry draft. He also oversees the development of the organization's prospects with the Grand Rapids Griffins, as well as those in the Canadian junior, European and college ranks.
Nill has four years remaining on his contract, with different out clauses each season.
"My goal is to become a general manager,'' Nill said. "There will be opportunities down the road.''