Deal or no deal?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

Coach Bryan Murray isn't worried about his future with the Senators. He's more concerned about facing the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena tomorrow night.

The Senators coach is in the unusual situation of working in the final year of his contract and he faced more questions about the contract issue at yesterday's daily media gathering following a workout at Scotiabank Place.

With only 28 games left in the regular season, there have been no contract talks between GM John Muckler and Murray.

And there may be no talks until the club judges its playoff performance this spring.

"I think I'll address that at another time," said Murray when asked if he wanted to return here next season. "I don't know if it's normal or not. It's just better for me not to talk about that issue at this point. It's not of concern to me, if that's what you're asking. I've been around long enough and I've been in the game long enough, if things happen, fine. If they don't happen, then I understand."

Muckler's contract with Ottawa runs to the end of the 2007-08 season and it will be up to him to decide if he wants Murray and the staff back next year. Senators owner Eugene Melnyk avoided the issue of Murray's contract when asked during a November conference call to give a "vote of confidence" to management when the club was struggling.

While this isn't normal for any coaching staff, it's not without precedent either. Carolina Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette worked through the final year of his contract and cashed in with a five-year deal in excess of $3 million after winning the Stanley Cup.

There has been talk that Murray, 64, might want to retire at the end of the season. But he made it clear he'd like to coach next year. He left his job as GM of the Anaheim Ducks in 2004 because he wanted to get back behind the bench, spend more time with the players and win a Cup in his home town.

"My two years here, I've really enjoyed being back on the ice with the guys and being involved in the day-to-day questions about my intelligence as a coach. I really do enjoy it," said Murray, a Shawville native."I came here and I signed a three-year contract.

"When you sign a contract, you sign with no concerns about what happens after that. You hope you win. I hope I'm a hot commodity. I just want to worry about the rest of the year and try to win a few rounds in the playoffs."

Murray was asked if he thought he deserved a contract extension?

"I'm not the judge of that either," said Murray with a laugh. "One year, (broadcaster) Stan Fischler asked me after we lost to the Flyers while I was with Washington, 'Do you think you deserve to be fired.' So, I don't know. Other people have to make that judgment."


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