Quinn eyes 'strong' Sens

Pat Quinn wouldn't pass up an opportunity to coach in the NHL again. SUN MEDIA/Fred Thornhill

Pat Quinn wouldn't pass up an opportunity to coach in the NHL again. SUN MEDIA/Fred Thornhill

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:59 PM ET

Pat Quinn wants to return to the NHL's coaching ranks.

And the Senators could be the right fit.

The 65-year-old Quinn, who led Team Canada to gold at the U18 world championships earlier this month in Russia, told the Sun yesterday he's healthy, happy and "not ready to retire."

"I'm on the record as saying if there's an opportunity, I would welcome the chance to coach in the NHL again," said Quinn, whose last NHL coaching stint ended after the 2005-'06 season, when he was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs. "I'm not ready to retire. I still feel good. My health is good and if there's an opportunity I'm not going to pass it up.

"I'm not sure what's happening in Ottawa and I haven't had any discussions with anybody there. I do know they've got a strong team there and a talented group. I know the people there and I know how hard they've worked and what a great job they've done. I've never been the type of person to go canvassing for a job, that might have to be something I consider."

Senators GM Bryan Murray doesn't want to return as coach after his team was swept out of the first round of the playoffs. He wants a disciplinarian behind the bench who will clamp down on the club's young players and make them accountable.

Sources say Murray plans to speak with Quinn, former Atlanta coach Bob Hartley, -- a Hawkesbury native -- former New Jersey coach Pat Burns and Kitchener coach Peter DeBoer about the coaching job. If Tampa Bay's John Tortorella becomes available, he will also be on the list.

In seven years behind the Leafs' bench, Quinn's club made the playoffs six times, missing the post-season the year he was fired.

Quinn said he's not sure what happened to the Senators in the playoffs because he was overseas with the juniors.

"I can't really comment on the playoffs because I didn't see them. I was relying on second-hand information and just getting scores," he said. "I know when something like that happens (a four-game sweep) that's going to leave a sour taste for everybody involved."

Having the chance to work with the young players in Russia was a good experience for Quinn, confirming the coaching fire still burns within him.

"I don't think I ever lost the passion for coaching. Being around those young men just told me that I'm not ready for a career change."

Scouts said Quinn did a "great job with the kids" in Russia.

An NHL executive suggested Murray might want to jump on Quinn before somebody else does; both Atlanta and Florida have coaching vacancies.

Florida GM Jacques Martin, forced out as coach by owner Alan Cohen, is expected to contact Quinn. The two won gold with Team Canada at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake, were on the Olympic staff in 2006 and won the 2004 World Cup.

"(Quinn's) the top (coach) available," said the executive. "This would finally allow the Senators to steal something from Toronto."

Told that being behind the Ottawa bench might spice up the Battle of Ontario, Quinn chuckled, saying: "I'm not sure it needs much more spice."


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