Fans of the Maple Leafs and Canadiens don't need any more reasons to loathe each other, but Toronto coach Pat Quinn stirred the pot last night anyway.
Though he claimed it was just coincidence, the Leafs starting lineup included Eric Lindros, Chad Kilger, Mariusz Czerkawski and Brad Brown. That cast, announced to a ringing chorus of about 19,608 boos by Bell Centre P.A. man Michel Lacroix, included perhaps the most hated NHLer in Quebec and three former Canadiens.
"Really, I wasn't thinking about that at all," Quinn said with a twinkle in his eye. "Players change teams so much now."
Lindros received the lion's share of abuse and struggled in search of his first point in three games. A third-period penalty and fumbled chance in the post-game exhibition shootout made it a perfectly miserable night for the reluctant Quebec Nordique.
"I'm not sure what it is (about the raw reception)," a bemused Lindros said. "Maybe it was the ('91 draft). This is quite the rivalry.
"I'm fighting the puck a bit, having a hard time getting my basic passes across. But I'm not too concerned about it."
Quinn did get the desired result from playing goalie Jean-Francois Racine in his hometown in the second half of the game. The 20 saves on 21 shots marked his second strong outing, showing he potentially can do more than tend goal for the Marlies.
"I did my best in front of family and friends," Racine said. "If it happens (getting the backup role to Ed Belfour), it happens, but I don't think much about it now."
Quinn was quite pleased.
"As a goaltender, he showed some real control in a building where he could've got (over) excited.
"He's taken a step. He's gotten some attention from management."