Maurice ponders options

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Paul Maurice has his resume polished and ready to go, but he knows a big bottle of white-out won't cover the biggest blemish.

Fired by the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, Maurice yesterday held a news conference at the Air Canada Centre, where he was asked about his NHL coaching record.

Maurice has made it past the first round just once, in 2002, when his Carolina Hurricanes went to the Stanley Cup final and lost to the Detroit Red Wings.

"It's not a good record," Maurice said. "So the assessment will be made by people in the business who look more at the circumstances surrounding that."

How would Maurice defend his career 344-373-121 record?

"My teams never quit," Maurice said. "Ever."

One of the circumstances Maurice had no control over this past season was the hefty, long-term contracts given to players by former general manager John Ferguson. Interim GM Cliff Fletcher wanted to rid himself of one or several of those five -- Darcy Tucker, Bryan McCabe, Pavel Kubina, Tomas Kaberle and Mats Sundin -- but none agreed to waive their no-trade clauses.

Still, Maurice claimed to have just one regret in his two seasons as Leafs coach.

"When I look back, I have one: John being fired," Maurice said. "I look at that as under my watch and my control."

Maurice didn't even wish he had not said last September that the Leafs would "make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup."

"It is your job (to be optimistic)," Maurice said. "I would make the statement again. I know it would get kicked back around at me, but I don't have a problem with that."

Maurice said he wants to get back into the NHL as a head coach, and the sooner the better. He spent a year as coach of the Marlies, and though Oshawa Generals co-owner Rocco Tullio wants to talk to Maurice about taking over the hockey operations department of the Ontario Hockey League club, Maurice made it clear he would like to stay in the NHL. There could be as many as 10 openings before the coaching dust has settled.

"You always leave every door open," Maurice said. "But I am closing in on 900 games at this level so I am not 100% sure (anything less than the NHL) is what is best. The decision will be what is best for my family."

One of Maurice's best friends happens to be Peter DeBoer, who will have nothing left to accomplish in junior hockey if his Kitchener Rangers win the Memorial Cup for the second time in five years later this month.

The feeling is the job of coaching Canada's junior team next winter in Ottawa at the world junior championship is DeBoer's if he wants it.

But many think DeBoer, who is line for an interview for the Ottawa Senators coaching job, is ready for the next step. What if the Leafs came calling?

"I have not thought a lot about that stuff," DeBoer said. "I'm sure the Maple Leafs are going to be looking for someone with experience. I'm not sure it's the kind of NHL job you can cut your teeth on."


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