SUN Hockey Pool

Three-year wait for Quinn

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

When you're 66 years old and haven't had an NHL regular-season coaching victory in three years, when you finally get one, you'd kind of like to have it framed.

But Pat Quinn's 657th NHL victory wasn't exactly a game to frame.

"It's certainly nice to have happen," said Quinn, who was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs after the 2005-2006 season.

"But I thought we played better the first night than tonight," he said of the comparison between the shootout win over Dallas last night and the Khabi-boo-boo last night loss to Calgary which was his first back in the saddle.

"From a coaching standpoint there's a lot of work to do.

"We abandoned the game plan in the second period!" he exclaimed.

"We have some talented guys, but they are easy to play against when they play by themselves.

"You can't play that way and expect to win. Thank goodness we didn't play that way all night."

It definitely wasn't a case of not critiquing the wins with the senior citizen of NHL coaches with a hockey club which seems intent to test out his heart.

"On our breakout, people were going on routes that are on no maps of mine, that's for sure," he said.

"In our own zone, we're not strong enough, quite frankly. We have to get better in that zone."

He didn't even have praise for the power play which provided goals from Mike Comrie and Sam Gagner.

"We're not there yet. We're not in synch right now. This team had that traditional two-at-the-top, three-on-the-side power play for a long time and they tend to revert to it."

So was there anything he liked about his first win after all that time wondering if he'd ever get one more chance to coach in the league and one more try at trying to win the only title he hasn't won of any significance in the sport?

The result.

Alex Hemsky, who along with Shawn Horcoff and J.F. Jacques (who already looked like an experiment gone bad), had floundered for the first five periods of the season and were among the most guilty of abandoning the game plan, got it going in the third and it was Hemsky who scored on the shootout on his "trademark" flub shot when going for a top corner.

"The shootout is one thing we should do well on," said Quinn.

"Two years ago I think we won 19 games in the shootout. "We seem to have guys in that area."

The other thing he liked as Nikolai Khabibulin.

He said he was fantastic.

Maybe he was referring to the shootout.

The Bulin Wall had one soft one for sure, again the fourth goal, but it was no where near as spectacular a gaffe as the one which cost the Oilers their opener. On the other hand, his team- mates seem to insist on having pucks bounce off sticks and skates behind him.

And he did do well in the shootout, stopping all three shots to reach his own milestone by becoming the 24th goalie to win 300 NHL games.

Like Quinn, it was one to frame but at the same time not a game he wanted to frame.

"It was nice to get the milestone. There are definitely things I wish I could polish," he said.

Not at mid-season form yet. Other than the shootout.

"I was really good last year on the shootout," he said.

As for the 300th win, he said it was nice to get it.

"It's a pretty good achievement I guess. Down the road a few years from now I think it will mean more.

"I mean, I don't want to stop there. I want to get to 400."

Four hundred?

The guy is 36.

"Anything is possible."

With a four year contract, that's 25 wins a year.

"We're going to need more than 25 wins a year," he said.

"It's just good to get the monkey off the back after that first one."

TERRY.JONES@SUNMEDIA.CA


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