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Muller happy with Canes

Ex-Canadien not interested in potential Habs' coaching job

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Raleigh, N.C. -- Kirk Muller spent a good portion of his career with the Montreal Canadiens organization but should not be considered a candidate to be the team's next head coach.

Muller announced this week he is committed to the Hurricanes and is enjoying the challenge of coaching in Carolina.

The Habs fired GM Pierre Gauthier on Thursday and head coach Randy Cunneyworth is not expected to be back running the bench next season.

"You pay attention to all the teams in the league and watch what is going on. I'm sure they are disappointed in Montreal and when you don't make the playoffs changes sometimes happen," said Muller Friday. "It's a very passionate market with a lot of passionate fans in that city, province and across the country. I'm sure they'll be back. Serge (Savard) is a very smart hockey man, I've had the opportunity to be around him, and he'll find good people."

There has been talk in some circles that both the GM head coach jobs in Montreal are no longer desirable because of the media and fan pressure. Muller scoffed at the notion.

"Every job in the NHL is an honour to have. Sure there's pressure there but there is pressure everywhere. If you don't like pressure you're in the wrong business," said Muller. "Yes, when things go bad there it can be tough, but when you're winning there are few places in hockey like Montreal."

BUFF'S STUFF: Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien has been playing with a deep bone bruise in an unspecified location and there is speculation it's actually a break. Jets coach Claude Noel calls the injury a bad bruise and has had talks with his medical staff about shutting Byfuglien down for a few games.

"I haven't had the discussion with him. I've had it with the medical staff. I'm not talking about the rest of the season, but giving him a break. I'm not sure this is good for anybody," said Noel.

Byfuglien is Winnipeg's best defenceman and when he's not in the lineup the Jets suffer for it.

"It says a lot about Buff that he still wants to play and contribute. At this time of the year a lot of guys would be saying 'I can't go.' Any talk of shutting him down hasn't come from him. It's come from me or the trainers. I think this speaks volumes about Buff," said Noel. "He's a big part of our team. As he goes our team follows. As we're trying to get on the right side he has to provide his A game."

PUT THE T BACK IN GST: Winnipeg Jets winger Chris Thorburn skated with the team again on Friday but did not take part in the game and remains day-to-day. Coach Claude Noel said on Friday morning that Thorburn would likely be in the lineup tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Forward Eric Fehr did not make the trip with the Jets and is likely done for the season.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 31, 2012 C3

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