BUFFALO -- Whenever he peers across the Niagara River at his native Canada, Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff can almost sense the swelling anticipation for the upcoming Vancouver Olympics.
A native of Warburg, Alta., Ruff knows the hockey competition of 2010 will have millions of people north of the 49th parallel glued to their televisions with expectations of gold medals dancing in their heads.
And he would like nothing better than to be part of the Canadian contingent that is seeking to repeat the championship effort turned in by Joe Sakic and company back in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
"It actually crossed my mind when I was watching Team Canada at the 2006 Games in Turin," Ruff said yesterday. "I just thought to myself that it would be nice to be involved.
"It's a tremendous honour just to be considered in any capacity."
Ruff's name already has been discussed by Hockey Canada officials, joining a list of candidates that includes New Jersey Devils coach Brent Sutter, St. Louis Blues coach Andy Murray, the Detroit Red Wings' Mike Babcock, Stanley Cup-winning coach Randy Carlyle of the Anaheim Ducks and the Phoenix Coyotes' Wayne Gretzky.
Sutter steered Canada to back-to-back world junior crowns in 2006 and 2007 while Murray led Canada to the 2007 world hockey championship in Moscow. Babcock guided Team Canada to gold medals at the 1997 world juniors in Geneva and the 2004 world hockey championship in Prague.
Well, The Great One's accomplishments competing for this country on the international scene both as a player and administrator are unequalled.
Ruff, on the other hand, never has represented Canada at any level, not even in minor hockey.
"It would be such a big deal," Ruff said. "It's easy to tell how much (the tournament) will mean to the country."
While he might not have the international experience of some of the other names being bandied about, Ruff has pieced together an impressive coaching resume in Buffalo with the Sabres.
As the longest-tenured coach in the NHL, Ruff, including last night's game, is 361-291 in the regular season; has a post-season mark of 52-36; and has a Jack Adams award as coach of the year that he captured in 2006.
"It would be great to have the chance (in 2010),"Ruff said. "I would love it."