Coach has that Oly spirit

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Andy Murray has no time for players who reject invitations to represent this country at the world hockey championship.

Nor can he understand them.

"I don't get it when guys say no," Murray said.

"You'll have guys saying "I'm tired." If that's the case, I wouldn't want guys like that on my team. Tired? It's (May). Normally your (NHL) team would be in the playoffs at that time. Would you be tired in the middle of the playoffs?"

Murray, the bench boss of the St. Louis Blues, has coached Canada to three gold medals at the worlds, achieving the feat in 1997, 2003 and 2007. He'd rather not be behind the bench for the 2008 event, since that would be an indication that his Blues would be out of the playoffs.

The 16-team tournament will be held in Canada for the first time May 2-18 in Quebec City and Halifax.

With such an impressive international resume to his credit, Murray is being touted as one of the leading candidates to land the head coaching job of Team Canada for the highly-anticipated 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver. Of course, make mention of prestigious job opening to Murray, and he quickly shies away from promoting himself.

"I'm just trying to keep this job for a couple of years," said Murray, whose Blues made a rare visit to the Air Canada Centre to face off against the Maple Leafs last night.

"If you've been in the (national team) program before, you look out for it. But realistically there are some other people that will be looked at."

For instance?

"I look at Mike Babcock," Murray said, referring to the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings. "He has won at the worlds and the world juniors, so he knows what it takes.

"I'm not lobbying for the job. I just think there are a lot of worthy candidates. If they want me to be part of it, I'll do whatever they like. Even if they want me to evaluate talent, I'll do it."

Murray, who served as an associate coach to head man Marc Crawford at the Nagano, Japan Games 10 years ago, understands that anything less than a gold medal in Vancouver will be viewed as a disappointment throughout Canada.

"That's the way it should be," he said. "That's the passion people have for the sport in this country.

It's a good bet Murray will get another shot at Olympic gold in two years as some part of the Team Canada braintrust.


Videos

Photos