Hurricanes want more Mo

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

RALEIGH -- Barring any unforseen circumstances, Paul Maurice will be back as the Carolina Hurricanes bench boss next season.

At least that is the inference made by general manager Jim Rutherford yesterday.

"Something extraordinary would have to happen for the coaching staff not to be back," Rutherford said in a phone interview. "If something out of the ordinary did happen, we'd have to look at the situation, sure. But anyone watching our team can see how our players have responded.

"I have to sit down and talk to Paul when our season is over, of course. He left his family back home to come here and take this job."

Maurice still is under contract with the Maple Leafs through June.

FIRED BY LEAFS

Maurice was fired by the Leafs a year ago after failing to make the playoffs in both of his seasons behind the bench. He was hired for his second stint as Hurricanes coach when Peter Laviolette was fired midway through the 2008-09 season and led Carolina to a 13-3 finish that allowed the Canes to squeeze into the post-season.

"I was driving back in Ontario when I got the call from Jim," Maurice said, recalling the day when Rutherford approached him with the idea of a second go-around on Tobacco Road.

"He said: 'What do you think?' I didn't really take him serious until he said: 'Can you be here tomorrow?'"

After upsets of the favoured New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins in the first two rounds, the Canes have hit a roadblock in the form of the high-flying Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Pens can sweep the series tomorrow night at the RBC Center.

No matter. Rutherford is looking at the big picture and is quite pleased with what he has seen, Eastern Conference final aside.

"I always evaluate the state of the team at the end of the season," Rutherford said. "Having said that, I'd like to clear up the coaching situation right away, certainly prior to the draft."


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