Thursday, April 20, 2006

Quinn Canned After Leafs Fall

It almost seemed like an inevitibility, but the Toronto Maple Leafs finally pulled the trigger on firing Pat Quinn as head coach of the team. There are some people split on the decision, but right now, I feel it's the best for the team to have a chance-- especially since the fact of the matter is that the youth movement wouldn't be Quinn's strongest point. Who I think will take over in a minute.

First, Quinn's legacy with the Leafs will probably be remembered for missing the playoffs, but in his tenure, Quinn was 300-196-52-26 as the bench boss in Toronto. He has some good years leading the Leafs to the Conference finals, but never being able to get them further than that. The gripe about Quinn that he was loyal to a fault, sticking by his older players even when they were slumping. That caused a logjam in the minors or caused the trading of many young, talented players away from the team so they could succeed there instead of Toronto. However, that time is over now, and it's time to move on.

Who's going to be the successor to the throne at the Air Canada Center??

Paul Maurice.

It may seem a little odd, but when he helped coach the Toronto Marlies in the AHL to the playoffs, you can only guess what he could do for the youth movement program the Leafs are installing. Maurice coached most of the kids that were called up at the end of the year, so he won't need any time to learn their style of play, learn where to put them, or get their full potential out of them. Not only that, but he has coached the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise for a number of years, the same franchise who beat the Leafs in the Conference Finals in 2002 playoffs. It's almost a no-brainer to hire from within.

Of course, the ability to have someone like Andy Murray could be a tempting option as well. Murray has been pegged for such jobs like the opening in New Jersey and possible openings in Boston and now Toronto. Yet, somehow I think the hiring from within route is the one that the Leafs will go for.

We'll have to see how it all pans out, but it'll be an interesting summer in Leafs land, much like it always is. This time, it's not all about free agents, it's finding someone who can steer the team back into playoff contention once more.

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