Quinn says he wants to stay put

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

When he steps behind the Maple Leafs bench tonight, Pat Quinn won't be thinking of a farewell speech.

Though his future as a coach in Toronto has been subject of much speculation, Quinn cast his own vote yesterday on the eve of his team's final game of the 2005-06 season.

"I am a coach and very proud of my association with this organization and these young men," Quinn said following practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena. "I want to coach here. This is an organization that has been a real good part of my career.

"I still am the coach and look forward to preparing for next year."

Quinn is about to finish his seventh season with the Leafs and the first under his tenure on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

The two-time NHL coach of the year said his future with the team has yet to be discussed with management.

But to hear Quinn tell it, that has been by design.

"We haven't really broached that subject and I didn't particularly pursue it," Quinn said.

"My objective all along has been to try to focus on the job that I have here and try to do that well. I've been locked in on doing the best for the guys that are here.

"When you are thinking about other stuff, you don't make the points you need to make as far as your own preparation."

The new salary cap plus the improved play of younger Leafs late in the season has led to some optimism. But it also has created the question of whether the team embraces a youth movement or sticks with veterans.

"We're all in the same boat here," Leafs captain Sundin said when asked about Quinn's future. "We're going to try and prepare like we can to win the last game and see what happens.

"I honestly haven't thought about anything at this point. There's going to be plenty of time to worry about next year after (tonight)."

Quinn said changes are inevitable, especially when a team doesn't reach its objectives.

"When you don't achieve what you believe you should -- and we all thought we'd be better -- change is possible," Quinn said. "Change is possible even when you are doing well. It is an expected thing."


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