Quinn keeping busy

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

Crumpled in a seat at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium yesterday, Pat Quinn peered at the game of shinny below and could only dream about what might have been.

On the first day of camp, Quinn should have been on the ice barking instructions to the likes of Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker and Aki Berg.

But the NHL's ugly labour dispute has scuttled those plans, leaving the Maple Leafs coach facing a winter of evaluating prospects, running coaching clinics and even participating in a potential fantasy camp or two.

Such is the impact of the battle for a new CBA, which has frustrated the veteran bench boss on a number of fronts.

Yesterday marked the two-week anniversary of Team Canada's World Cup victory over Finland at the Air Canada Centre. Yet Quinn said the euphoria of that moment quickly was dampened when the owners locked out the players the following day.

"Sure, it dulled our celebration quite a bit," Quinn said. "We all knew the players wouldn't be playing and it was a down feeling.

"It was the first major championship won at the Air Canada Centre and I was happy for the fans. I just hope I'll be coaching Toronto in the playoffs in that building come the spring but I don't know if that is going to happen."

Quinn and assistant coaches Rick Ley and Keith Acton are here in Kitchener helping to grade players attending St. John's Maple Leafs camp. The three men will participate in a coaching symposium on Oct. 9 and could find themselves as part of a subsequent fantasy camp, although no plans have yet been finalized.

"It's a concept our business development people had so that we could keep in contact with our fan base," Quinn said. "We want to keep our connection with people who support us."

Does that mean Quinn will still have a chance to don the blades in front of a bunch of Leaf wannabes who take time out from their day jobs to live out their dreams?

"They don't really want to see me skate," he said.

At least he hasn't lost his sense of humour in these trying times.


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