Thursday, February 23, 2006

Is this the end for Quinn?

By The Meatriarchy

Before the break there were some rumblings that Pat Quinn's job was in serious jeopardy in Toronto. However a lot of people said that it would be suicide on JFJ's part to fire Quinn and have him go to Torino and win a gold medal.

Well that didn't happen.

And you know what struck me as a Leaf's fan? This Canadian team looked an awful lot like this year's Leafs. Namely uninterested, unfocused and not playing as a team. Oh and relying on a hot goalie to bail them out. Sound familiar?

So has Quinn finally lost it?

I am a huge fan of Pat's and have always dismissed talk of firing him which has cropped up in the media every year that he has been here and the Leafs hit a bad patch. In fact it is no secret that the Toronto media hates him. Some have flat out admitted it in their columns and on the air on various radio stations.

However a stopped watch is right twice a day and it could be that the stopped watches of the Toronto sports media are closer to being right this year than they have for the past five or six.

I was hoping that the performance of Team Canada would silence Quinn's critics - although if that had happened they would have fluidly moved the criticism to JFJ's inability to build the right team for Quinn. Or they would have said that anyone could have won with this team.

But the other question is: How could you have lost so badly with this team?

19 comments:

  1. I am not sure that Pat Quinn ever really had it. The Leafs record is basically flat since he arrived. The only thing that has saved his sorry ass is that the Leafs managed to beat Ottawa like a drum when the play-offs come around.

    That said, Ken Dryden and JFJ were/are probably worse in their jobs.

    How did Team Canada lose? The team was built like it should be playing at the old Boston Gardens.

    The team was cetered on big guys that want to dump and maul, then get the goal through jamming in from of the net. With the quicker opposition and the bigger ice, giving up possession on the dump in is a big deal. Either you don't get the puck because you have further to go or the opposition defence is quicker to the puck, or if you do get on the puck you are way the hell out of the play and the other side has collapsed (see the Swiss) to take away the scrum in front of the net.

    I am not sure whether it is the different configuration of the area inside the blue lines and/or the added width, but the defencemen never seemed to be involved in the offence. McCabe was on the team for the big shot and I don't think that he ever got the chance to pull the trigger.

    The defence were mostly big and slow so that they could not handle the extra width of the ice, could not initiate the play with the opposition at or outside of the blue line and were consistently forced to turn and chase the usually faster opposition into the corner. This allowed the opposition to set up in the Team Canada end with control of the puck.

    The team was just not built to deal with the different style of play required by the bigger ice and better opposition (i.e quicker and better puck skills) than we see in the NHL.

    There was too much politics / payback / etc. in picking the team and not the guys who were having great years or would be assets to the team by virtue of the style of play. I am thinking maybe Staal, Spezza, Phaneuf, Kariya and Brendan Shanahan here.

    Finally, I don't believe that the guys really had enough in the tank to overcome the grind of the regular season then step it up to come into this competition where everyone is gunning for Canada. It was like a plyoff game every night and they couldn't shift it up a gear to make up for having the wrong mix of talent for the team.

    If the Olympics weren't in Vancouver next time, I would bet that this would be the last time that the NHLers from Canada would be out in full force. They don't need the kind of abuse that jerks like me are going to be raining down on them for being shut out for 11 of the last 12 periods they played, including a loss to the Swiss who were led by a guy that couldn't even make the Habs. The season is long and tough enough and there is plenty of abuse from the peanut gallery already.

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  2. My hockey-novice girlfriend said earlier in the tournie "This feels like watching the Leafs." Who would've thought she would have been so right.

    I have wanted to defend Quinn in the past, but I don't know how much longer I can hold out. And I'm beginning to see a glaring need for some fresh ideas, especially in the neutral and O zones.

    Watching the opposition wait for Team Canada to face the boards and kick the puck around was painful. The Russians never looked worried on our cycle.

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  3. I don't buy that our guys were slower or that the world has finally caught up or whatever. The world caught up a long time ago, but few countries have our kind of depth or play our game better. Half the problem was we weren't playing our game at all but some kind of buggered up hybrid system.

    The problem was coaching as much as anything else. Take, for instance, the power play setups:
    Canada has 1 guy behind the net, two guys very high along the boards and two playing the point tight to the middle. Remember how often St.Louis was stuck in the corner? You're not gonna score from there.

    Russia, and most of the others played with a guy in high behind the net, two guys (get this!) in front of the net and 2 guys playing the point tight to the boards.

    The setup we were using only makes sense (to me, anyways) if you're point shot is working (it wasn't) and you OWN the boards so you can periodically walk in and collapse the square.

    I guess the 2 point guys playing off the boards was meant to free up the point shot and stop the short handed chances up the middle, but having nobody on the boards makes clearing the puck ridiculously easy.

    20-some shots? With 7+ power plays? Unacceptable. Unacceptable.

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  4. MTH: The leafs have been flat ever since Quinn arrived?

    They have had 100+ point seasons more than once under him.

    Since 67 has there been a more successful Leaf coach over a sustained period?

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  5. Canada lost because the Defence didn't pick it up much, and the fact that they ran into some very hot Goaltenders.

    The Russians played as good as Canada, both teams were pretty equal, aside from not getting the bounces and some dumb penalties we could have won that game. But you can't win em all.

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  6. Plus I can't stand all the second guessing. If you were the GM's who would you have swapped out?

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  7. A lot of people are saying that Team Canada didn't win because they picked big, slow guys for the team and they couldn't get used to the big ice surface.

    I don't buy this for a second.

    This team was bigger AND faster than the last squad that won in 2002.
    With the exception of Kariya, (and Neidermayer on D) Canada replaced guys like Lindros, Nolan, Neiwendyk and Peca with much faster players in St.Louis, Richards, Nash and Lecavalier. And they didn't get the job done!
    In fact, the one player that everyone thought shouldn't have been picked probably played the best yesterday. Shane Doan.

    This team had every opportunity to win the gold medal.
    Personally, I think it was due to the fact that those old/slow guys (Lemieux/Yzerman) weren't there to give guys like Nash/Bertuzzi/Pronger shit when they continually took the retarded, selfish penalties that they did the whole tourney!

    Selfishness, egos, lack of drive and the inability to buy into a system were what lost the tourney for them.

    I blame the players!

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  8. My thoughts exactly re: Team Canada looking and playing life the Toronto Maple Leafs. I'm a big Leafs fan but I've not been impressed with their 'strategies' or (lack thereof) for winning the Stanley Cup: doing as little as possible to make it into the playoffs, and then let hot goaltending bail out your slow, aging, injury prone team. Yes, they've had several 100+ point seasons but, after 37 years without a championship, I don't think we can define success as 'making it into the playoffs and maybe winning a playoff round'.
    Many championship teams have had disappointing seasons or early playoff exits (the Detroit Red Wings seem to have a penchant for bowing out to underdog California teams) will then look at went wrong, and then make the necessary moves to they focus on getting better.
    The Leafs are content to add a few aging 'name' veterans in the hopes that it will placate their ever-more easily placated fan base and maybe get the team into the playoffs, where winning a round will guarantee them a nice boost in revenue.

    Realize that this is a bit of a tangent but I just watched an incredibly talented group of big name players wearing red maple leafs adopt the same distracted, haphazard style of play as the team wearing the blue maple leafs and couldn't help but want to scream in frustration at the similarity.

    Though I don't think Quinn shoulders the bulk of the blame here (hello, non-present offense), I don't think it helped having him coach.

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  9. Bang on Kyle!!!To claim the Leafs have been successful by having a few 100 point seasons since '67 shows how blind Leaf fans really are.Do you honestly think a Habs fan would accept this?..

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  10. First off if you are defining success only by winning cups then very few teams are successful.

    And Habs fans haven't had near as much to cheer about in the past 10 years. Quite frankly their team has been pathetic compared to the Leafs. But if you want to measure it by Cups won then only 5 teams or so have been successful.

    What I was repsonding to was teh comment that the LEafs record has been
    "flat" since Quinn took over.

    Clearly the Leafs record improved dramatically under Quinn both in the regular season and in the playoffs.

    And don't talk to me about the lowered expectations of LEafs fans. I grew up in the 70's as a fan of Montreal. I know what it's like to cheer for a successful team.

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  11. My biggest beef is why the hell didn't they get two players who are on hot streaks, Staal and Spezza. St. Louis and Lecavalier? Please! And fire Quinn already! Looks like Gretzky was playing loyalties to me. It was a sad, disappointing game. Go Sweden!

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  12. Spezza is on a hotstreak? You're shite-ing me, right?
    The St. Louis/Lecavalier line showed as much effort and 'heart' (god I hate that word) as any on the ice.

    So, is the truce over yet?

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  13. There are 2 types of players in the NHL.Those who have won the cup and those who haven't.If only 5 teams have won since then than so be it.
    As you know,the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy in professional sports to win.Not every one can win it and there will be failures,just like real life.

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  14. My concern is not so much that the Leafs don't win the Stanley Cup every year. It's that they don't seem to win the Stanley Cup ANY year, at least since I've been walking this earth. So when I hear the word, 'success' used to describe yet another early playoff exit, I'm prone to cringe.
    On the whole, I'll readily agree that the Leafs have had success with Quinn in so far as they've consistently made the playoffs, a feat achieved by roughly half the teams in the league each season. But they've never seemed to improve or build upon the efforts of a previous season. I recognize that it's very difficult to win a Stanley Cup. But I'd like to see the Leafs organization demonstrate that they have a plan to win a Stanley Cup and that it is the prime objective of the organization to win a Stanley Cup.
    Perhaps it's unfair to use the example of Detroit, because they always seem to have so many better players than Toronto does, but they were a team that hadn't won in decades. I remember back in 97, when the Red Wings won the conference final and Yzerman was handed the Campbell trophy. Rather than parade it around in celebration, he immediately skated off the ice with it. Every Detroit player followed, and then they promptly closed the dressing room door. The message was pretty clear: we're not going to celebrate until we win the whole shebang.
    The Leafs? Well, last month Mats was quoted as saying that the team's goal is making the playoffs.
    I'll try contain my excitement.

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  15. People tend to forget that the Wings were considered cup favorites for years before they actually won one.

    Right now I think the goal of any team is to make the playoffs - and it should be.

    Because once your in - anything can happen.

    Just ask Calgary.

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  16. And Edmonton used to celebrate those Clarence Campbell trophies...
    I seem to remember them having a pretty good team. So what's your point there?

    What do you think Pittsburgh's goal for this year is? Realistically?

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  17. five-o, why bring Pittsburgh up? They aren't making it out of the basement. Hopefully they can string a few wins together. GO PENGUINS GO!

    Next year we got Malkin coming in and hopefully have a new rink being built and a new owner. Spend some money, get some good players a good defensemen. maybe we'll get Chara! Make the playoffs next year, win the cup within 3 years.

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  18. Who's this hot goalie the Leafs have been relying on?

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  19. Pittsburgh's goal will be to exist to play the 2006/07, and I wish them the best in that regard. Surely the Maple Leafs, can aim a tad higher in their goal-setting.

    I guess my point about Detroit's non-celebration after winning the penultimate championship round is that they clearly weren't satisfied with making that far and it sent a message loud and clear.

    Don't get me wrong, if the Leafs made it to the finals, I'd most likely be weeping with joy in the streets. But I'd be even more impressed if they did so and seemed determined to go all the way.

    To chris selley's (humourous) point, should Telqvuist be playing more? Should I be blaming Pat Quinn because he's not?

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