It’s a sad day around the hockey world as we learned of the passing of E.J. McGuire.

McGuire, 58, had served as the director of Central Scouting for the NHL since 2005.

In my brief interactions with McGuire, he always showed a passion for the game and a knowledge those of us who don’t get to follow the top draft prospects like we’d like could only envy. The best thing about E.J., to me, was his willingness to talk hockey with anyone at any time, regardless of how big or small your media outlet was.

McGuire was a head coach, assistant coach and scout at many different levels, as well as the NHL. While he was the head coach at Hartford of the AHL, he was Marc Savard’s first pro coach during the 1997-98 season.

He is survived by his wife Terry and daughters Jacqueline and Erin.

He will be sorely missed. I’m sure the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minnesota will be a more solemn occasion because E.J. will not be there. The NHL