Quinn returns fire in a war of words

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:25 AM ET

 Pat Quinn is convinced that the boy from Flin Flon is spewing a lot of flim flam.

The war of words -- it's more like an amusing skirmish -- between the Maple Leafs coach and Philadelphia Flyers general manager Bob Clarke escalated yesterday with Quinn responding to Clarke's latest verbal salvo.

Clarke, undoubtedly the highest profile celebrity to claw his way out of the northern Manitoba metropolis of Flin Flon, said on Thursday that Quinn was trying to influence the officiating in the Eastern Conference semi-final.

"What Pat has done after every game is cry and whine about the officiating," Clarke said, suggesting that the refs had turned a blind eye to some of the more outrageous Leafs atrocities in Game 3, a 4-1 Toronto win. "And (Ed) Belfour is the same. It paid off for them."

When asked to respond to Clarke's accusations, a slightly irritated Quinn said: "You've been taking his Kool-Aid.

"He needs a new gripe. He does that every year, it doesn't matter who he's playing.

"Look up your old notes. I get tired of listening to it. It's the same gripe all the time. My goodness."

Quinn scoffed at suggestions that anyone could influence the referees.

"They do their jobs," he said. "They're not intimidated by someone like me."

Still, in last night's game, Clarke's words seemed to ring somewhat true as his Flyers were hit with a series of iffy penalties and no-calls in the first period. Alexander Mogilny was not penalized when he two-handed Branko Radivojevic after the Flyer took a high stick penalty.

A short while later, Mats Sundin and Philly defenceman Vladimir Malakhov went at it for a couple of minutes during a shift and only the Flyer was penalized for roughing.

After Keith Primeau took a cross checking penalty to give the Leafs a two-man advantage, Clarke was shown on TV, shaking his head in frustration.

Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock waded into the controversy, with his unique brand of humour, of course, suggesting that Quinn and Clarke needed to get together for a group hug.

"It's playoffs," he said. "Everybody's looking for an edge. Midnight calls are rolling everywhere."


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