Former Islanders coach Scott Gordon will coach the U.S. team...

Former Islanders coach Scott Gordon will coach the U.S. team at the upcoming IIHF World Championships. Credit: John Dunn, 2010

More than five months removed from his last game coaching in the NHL, former Islanders coach Scott Gordon can't wait to get back behind the bench.

Gordon, replaced as Islanders coach in November, will lead Team USA at the International Ice Hockey Federation's World Championships for the second straight year.

The 47-year-old Brockton, Mass., native said he very much wants to get back into coaching -- "Oh yeah, absolutely," he said -- but this opportunity is about far more than exposure.

"If I benefit from it, that's great, but that's not why I'm doing it," Gordon said when reached by telephone Monday. "I love representing the United States."

This year's tournament -- which will be in Slovakia beginning April 29 -- marks the fifth time that Gordon has represented USA Hockey. In addition to his appearance last year, Gordon was an assistant coach in 2009, as well as an assistant for Team USA's silver medal-winning team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He also was a goaltender for the 1992 team.

"In the U.S, the World Championships don't mean that much to the hockey fan, but over there, it's like the Stanley Cup," Gordon said. "Fans are incredibly passionate. You see players block a shot and finish a check unlike how you would during an 82-game season. They treat it as much more than an end-of-the-year tournament."

Since being replaced by Jack Capuano on Nov. 15, Gordon has remained with the Islanders organization in an advisory role; he primarily has been used to scout teams while working out of Atlanta, where his family is based. And though there have been some preliminary discussions about the potential of sticking on with the team -- his three-year contract expires at the end of June -- his first priority is to make a return to coaching.

"That goes without saying," he said.

The frenetic pace of head-coaching responsibilities may be an abrupt transition from pitching daily batting practice to his two school-age sons in Georgia, but he's ready for the challenge again.

Besides, his throwing arm is getting a little sore.

"I might have been a miserable guy this summer had I not gotten this opportunity," Gordon joked. "I'm just happy to be a part of it every day and be involved."

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