After the season, Demers was a candidate for Coach of the Year, as he is again. He hoped the Blues would buy a table and join him at the NHL awards banquet in Toronto. No go. "They found out the day before the awards that I wasn't going to win," says Demers. "So nobody came." Demers and Debbie sat with strangers. Humiliated, he called his agent, Art Kaminsky, and told him to "go ahead with Detroit."
"I can't believe we got him," Ilitch told reporters after signing Demers to a five-year, $1.1 million contract. "Last year my wife asked me, 'Who's the best coach?' I said, ' Jacques Demers.' "
Demers pretends not to understand all the fuss. "Whether it is driving a Coke truck or coaching an NHL team, I give it my best shot," he says.
Right now it's about two o'clock in the afternoon of Demers's career. Everything is relaxed, everything is cool. There's no traffic, just beautiful highways. And octopuses flying overhead.