Skill guys must show some grit

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:41 PM ET


 Will the Maple Leafs fight fire with fire?

 The mere thought gets Pat Quinn's blood boiling.

 Although he has given thought to dressing one or two Ottawa Senator-type players -- quick skating, hard hitters such as Nathan Perrott and Clarke Wilm -- the more he talked about it yesterday, the angrier he seemed to get that his skill-oriented players won't do the dirty work themselves.

 "In my mind, there is no role player like an offensive player," Quinn said, his voice rising. "At this time of year, you can't be staying on the outside and trying to score.

 "We need that guy to play defence, we need him to get the puck back. We need him to help keep it out of our net. If you have people who don't want to participate in that, then you are a role player and a lousy one. That's when you say the other (plumber) guy will work at it 1,000 times harder and at least if he can't score, he'll keep it out of the net."

 Quinn said he has given thought to a change along those lines tonight, other than his stated preference of Matt Stajan replacing the injured Mats Sundin or Joe Nieuwendyk if need be.

 Quinn said the 2002 gold medal champion Canadian Olympic team he coached was the prime example of a group that made superstars into willing two-way players.

 "The first year (1998) we had checkers and skill guys (and lost)," Quinn said. "The next year we said 'no, no, no', we'll take the most talented guys, the guys who can skate, the guys who can think and we'll ask them to play the game both ways. And they can, usually, as well or better than the grinders.

 "We need to get some of our guys to do that."

 Though he wasn't singling out Alex Mogilny in conjunction with his argument, the winger appeared to be in that group when Quinn fielded an earlier question on Mogilny's one point in the series.

 "We need him to get more involved," Quinn said. "That's part of scoring for some guys, getting into that right spot. Sometimes you have to get more dirty yourself. We're hopeful that does start to happen."


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