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Friday, September 26, 2008
Updated: September 27, 4:17 PM ET
Maurice hits books; Fergie starts new gig with Sharks


There are some big names in the coaching fraternity on the sidelines as the season approaches, but they're keeping busy. John Tortorella (TSN) and Marc Crawford (CBC) have found high-profile TV work in Canada; Joel Quenneville was hired as a pro scout by the Chicago Blackhawks; Pat Quinn will be Canada's coach at the World Junior Championship (it's a big deal in Canada, even if the rest of the world doesn't know the event even exists).

And then, there's Paul Maurice, who is hitting the books.

"Every time I get fired, I like to take a few courses," Maurice told ESPN.com on Friday. He is studying business at the University of Windsor (Ontario). "I commute from Toronto and take a few classes down there. Although, last week, the faculty went on strike and that put a bit of a fly in the ointment."

He's inching closer to finishing his degree.

"Yeah, I'm on a 22-year plan to get my degree," said Maurice, never a stranger to a punch line.

Maurice, who will still get paid by the Maple Leafs this season after his dismissal in May, is also still coaching. "Yes, I'm assistant coach on two of my kids' hockey teams."

Maurice interviewed with Florida, Atlanta and the New York Islanders in the offseason. All three teams hired rookie NHL coaches, which is definitely the trend these days.

We need Maurice back behind an NHL bench. He makes the media's job so much easier with his humor. And, as you know, it's all about us.

Speaking of keeping busy ...
John Ferguson is back in the NHL after being fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs as GM last season. He's the new director of pro scouting in San Jose, where his late father worked for 11 years. That made it an obvious fit.

"Yes, I had the benefit of already knowing the people here," Ferguson told ESPN.com on Friday. "From [GM] Doug Wilson to Mr. [Greg] Jamison [president and CEO], Timmy Burke [director of scouting], Bryan Marchment [scout], that familiarity makes it a good fit I think for both sides.

"It's a real strong organization and a great group."

Ferguson will stay based in Toronto, and take in many games at the Air Canada Centre. I asked him how strange that might be, the first time he walks into the building again.

"I've been there before, watching and working games [before he was Leafs GM], so from that perspective, it's going to be a road already traveled," said Ferguson. "But sure, you're going back there in a different role. But I've got a job to do. This role is really going to allow me to know every organization and their depth charts and really key in on the other 29 teams in the NHL."