Quinn isn't a lock for job

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

Pat Quinn has a message for those who already are penciling him in as the coach of Team Canada for the upcoming World Hockey Championship: Slow down!

"I have yet to have a conversation with anyone with (with Hockey Canada) about this issue, so all this speculation is premature to talk about," Quinn said last night, just hours after the league gave its blessing to any NHL management personnel wanting to participate in the tournament.

Quinn, who led Canada to victories at the 2002 Olympics and 2004 World Cup, figures that national team coach Marc Habscheid will be behind the Canadian bench for the worlds, which run April 30-May 15 in Austria. A clause in Habscheid's contract serves as verification of that.

"I've always operated under the realization that Marc would be the coach of the team," Quinn said.

But Habscheid has suggested he would accept an assistant coaching role should Hockey Canada choose to bring in a more established presence. Rumoured names include those of Quinn, Ken Hitchcock and Scotty Bowman.

"Working with Team Canada has been a privilege in the past and continues to be," Quinn said. "If there's a chance to be involved, I would welcome it. That hasn't changed.

GOOD GROUP

"We had a pretty good young group of players that won the World Cup, and I would suspect a lot of that (core) group might be back this time, too."

This much is certain.

The executive director's role is Wayne Gretzky's -- if he wants it.

Should the Great One accept, don't be surprised if Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini also return to complete the Canadian braintrust that had so much success at the Olympics and World Cup.

Speculation that NHL management types would be banned from the worlds was scuttled by NHL executive vice-president Bill Daly yesterday, freeing up Gretzky and company to join Team Canada.


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