Thrashers 'a bunch of cowards': Quinn

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

ATLANTA -- The Maple Leafs and Thrashers threw punches, cheap shots, verbal darts and even crashed a press conference last night, with the whole mess about to land on the National Hockey League's doorstep.

Thrasher defenceman Andy Sutton will get at least a game for his match penalty for intent to injure Darcy Tucker (20 stitches above his left eye) and likely will hear from hockey operations boss Colin Campbell about further punishment.

"A bunch of cowards," is how Pat Quinn referred to the Thrashers, though coaching counterpart Bob Hartley received the most scorn.

But the Leafs' Tie Domi isn't off the hook, as he appeared to toss referee Dan O'Rourke aside trying to get at Eric Boulton, who was after teammate Eric Lindros.

Roughing up an official could mean up to a 20-game suspension, though Domi was not penalized for more than instigating a fight on the gamesheet. Further action will depend on what O'Rourke's and Dan O'Halloran's written report to the league says.

"I'll have to look at the tape because everything happened so fast," Domi said. "But it's part of my job to come to the aid of my teammate."

Quinn complained the officiating crew lost control of the match and accused Hartley of "wiring up his players" to attack the Leafs after the eventual 9-1 game began to slip away.

"He promotes it, that's his history," Quinn snapped. "If you're (losing big) and you're allowed to respond that way, there's something wrong."

But Hartley threw the blame right back on the Leafs.

"It started with a good check (Boulton on Lindros) and who comes in, Domi. Pat can say what he wants, I don't care. There's a situation where (Sutton) throws Tucker into the boards and he hits his face on the partition. Was it a dirty hit? Was it a charge? I don't think so. They're always whining, this is no different."

Hartley made that last comment as he exited the podium and likely was surprised to see Leafs general manager John Ferguson was listening from the back of the room.

"That's bull (bleep) Bob," Ferguson said as they passed.

Wade Belak, a former Hartley pupil in Hershey when he was Colorado Avalanche property, echoed the charge that Hartley was capable of sending his his players out on head-hunting assignments.

"You be up 5-0 and he'd do that," Belak said. "I feel sorry for their players. They're expected to do that."

Quinn was angry Lindros and Jason Allison, two of his most skilled players, were drawn into the fighting.

"The (officials) should have been on top of it," he said.

"They said they warned the benches, but it didn't stop."

ONE FOR THE BOOKS

Notable happenings in last night's 9-1 win:

* Seven power-play goals, a Leafs' team record. (They've had five on several occasions.)

* Nine road goals, one off the club record, set in a 10-3 win at Chicago on Nov. 12, 1998.

* Jeff O'Neill's hat trick was the first on the road by a Leaf since Gary Roberts on Dec. 6, 2001, at the New York Rangers.

* Ties the most goals scored against the Thrashers in a game.


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