Team Canada could be looking to play it Ruff

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

Team Canada is waiting to get its man.

While GM Doug Armstrong and his assistants Pierre Gauthier and Joe Nieuwendyk held a conference call Friday to discuss the potential staff and roster for the world championship in Switzerland, no decision has been made on who is going to be Canada's coach.

With the tourney being used as a dress rehearsal for the next year's Olympics in Vancouver, sources say the top candidates for the coaching job are Buffalo's Lindy Ruff and Nashville's Barry Trotz --but neither may be available because both are in a playoff race.

While Trotz has worked for Hockey Canada, Ruff has not. Ruff is held in high regard, but Canadian officials would like to see him work at the international level.

The NHL playoff races have made it difficult for Canada to make a decision on a bench boss. You'd think if Armstrong was going to opt for a coach who is out of work -- like Tom Renney or Craig Hartsburg -- that person would have been hired already.

If Ruff or Trotz aren't available, Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish could be an option.

Around the boards

It's been another lost season in Phoenix and don't be surprised if G Ilya Bryzgalov is shopped. Bryzgalov, who will earn $4.25 million (all terms US) next season, has fallen out of favour with the Coyotes. The Coyotes have recalled G Al Montoya and he who has posted a 2-0 record with 0.50 GAA. He will get a chance to push for the top job next season. The club has been making C Martin Hanzal a healthy scratch lately and he could also be a candidate to be moved ... Despite the success with Dan Byslma behind the bench, there are whispers the Penguins might still look for a coach in the off-season. Byslma still has the interim tag ... Toronto GM Brian Burke was pounding his chest after signing college UFAs Tyler Bozak (Denver) and Christian Hanson (Notre Dame). The Leafs might want to keep expectations low. On April 1, 2006, Burke signed Cornell G David McKee for Anaheim and gave him a huge signing bonus. He is currently with the Bakersfield Condors in the ECHL.

Off the glass

No surprise the Bruins have decided to keep G Tim Thomas. He officially signed a four-year, $20-million deal yesterday and he'll stay in the net while the club develops Tuukka Rask. Boston looked at its options and didn't believe Blackhawks G Nikolai Khabibulin, a potential UFA on July 1, would be an upgrade. "(Thomas) has an unorthodox style, but he has an uncanny ability to stop the puck," said Boston GM Peter Chiarelli. "That's why we decided to sign him." The Red Wings would have made a run at Thomas, a Michigan native, if he had become a UFA in July ... The Devils wouldn't fire coach Brent Sutter with the club struggling down the stretch, would they? Put nothing past GM Lou Lamoriello.

Have a nice Sunday.

BRUCE.GARRIOCH@SUNMEDIA.CA


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