Quinn has had to go for 3 years now
I hear a lot of people hopping on the “get rid of Quinn” bandwagon. Well it’s about time. I have been saying this for at least 3 years now. The Leafs have had some marked success in the last few years, but it has had nothing to do with Pat Quinn. Only in Toronto will one of the greatest players in the game get the same ice time as the average Joe on most teams. And only in Toronto will he be lined up with the worst and most average players on the team. Mats Sundin is a potential 90-point getter, even more, but he doesn’t get the ice time, and he doesn’t get the linemates, and he hasn’t for almost 4 years now.
Anyone remember when Sundin/Mogilny/Tucker was the greatest line in hockey for the first 10 games of the season as the Leafs started early with 10 wins in a row and they’d combined for over 40 points? What happened after that? Quinn broke up that line and the Leafs became simply a “good” team for the rest of the season, and that line never saw the ice again, and none of us know why.
I hate to break down an argument to specifics, but nothing reiterates my viewpoint better than a game from the pre-lockout season that was crucial in this fan’s eyes. Boston/Toronto/Ottawa were all battling for first in the Northeast division at this time late in the season and all 3 teams were separated by only TWO points. Boston was leading, Toronto and Ottawa tied for second. Toronto had a game IN TORONTO against the abismal Carolina Hurricanes (at this time they were one of the two worst teams in the league). Carolina had played their typical defensive style of game and were leading 1-0 with about 7 minutes left in the third, when they were assessed a penalty. I turned to my girlfriend and I said, “This is where the Leafs tie this game and move into AT LEAST a tie with Boston for first, even with just the single point for overtime!!!” and I was excited. Then I remembered who was behind our bench, and my worst fears were confirmed. Pat Quinn just didn’t take this opportunity seriously. He didn’t even call a timeout (which is forgiveable, but something I think most people would agree was a good idea in such a crucial game), but the best part of what happened, and I remember this like it happened yesterday, was the actual power play unit that Quinn put out. It was a clear statement that Quinn did not see this as an opportunity to seize the game, or the division. If so, why were Tie Domi, Robert Reichel, and an as yet unestablished Alexei Ponikarovsky the power play unit????? And not only the unit, but for 1:22 of the power play!! I looked at the clock at the line change because I had been so busy cursing in every way I knew possible to my girlfriend and I wanted to remember this moment as the day I knew Quinn had to go.
DOMI/REICHEL/PONIKAROVSKY for 1:22 of a 2:00 power play at a crucial game against a weak opponent late in the season? Do you know what happened? We lost that game 1-0 against the 29th best team in the NHL, and finished the season ONE POINT behind Boston, putting us in fourth going into the playoffs. Even if we had tied Boston, we would have won the division because we beat Boston head-to-head all season. That one point would have the Leafs going into the Playoffs in second in the East, instead we went in fourth and lost to Philli in the second round. We should have had Montreal in the first round and we could have avoided the nasty first round exhaustion against the Sens and had a chance against Philli. I know, a lot of ifs, but they would have come true had Quinn tried to score on that power play…..
It’s the cycling of 4 lines equally that practically no other coach in the NHL does, especially when they have someone of Sundin’s calibre. He’s a lot better than his points suggest, if you calculate his points per ice time, he’s up there with the leaders in the NHL over his career. It’s a shame but I’m glad people are finally waking up to see QUINN HAS GOT TO GO!!!!