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Paul Maurice eager to get back behind the bench

by Dan Rosen

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Paul Maurice is excited to cover his first Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic game as an NHL Network analyst, but the former coach of the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs could think of a better way to experience the League's marquee regular-season event.

"What would be even better is if I got paid to coach in one of these games," Maurice told

The 46-year-old Maurice is interested in potentially getting that chance next season. He is working as a part-time television analyst mostly for TSN this season, but his desire is to get back into coaching after taking a year away following his one season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

Maurice has coached 1,084 NHL games and has 460 wins. In his first stint in Carolina, he led the Hurricanes to the 2002 Stanley Cup Final. He brought them to the 2009 Eastern Conference Final during his second stint.

"I want to coach. That's what I want to do," Maurice said. "I had opportunities to go back to Europe this year and didn't with the age of my family, My kids, they're 16, 15 and 13, and I have a 17-year-old with me too. One year was enough. I wouldn't have wanted to do that back-to-back years, but I want to coach, that's all I want to do."

Obviously his first preference would be to return to the NHL bench as the head man, but Maurice said he would entertain the idea of taking an associate or assistant coaching job if the situation was right. He has also fielded offers from teams in Europe, including two as recently as three weeks ago, he said, but for now he wants to stay in his Columbus, Ohio, home and continue working on television.

"I just want to finish the year out here doing what I'm doing, staying close to the NHL game," Maurice said. "I watched some NHL with the KHL last year. It was easy to do because they only played a half a year so I could kind of stay up on it, but I didn't want to go a year and a half without watching here and being close to here."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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