Quinn down on defence

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

The Maple Leafs will attempt today to keep their momentum going on the golf course.

After receiving a day off yesterday from coach Pat Quinn, the Leafs were slated to have a quick practice this morning at 9 a.m. before heading to Angus Glen, where they will participate in the club's annual charity event.

It's somewhat bothersome to Quinn, who, despite three wins in a row, is anxious to correct what he sees as the club's defensive shortcomings. The Leafs will have had four consecutive non-game days by the time they play host to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

Quinn concurred the interruption today puts the Leafs behind the eight-ball in a sense.

"It does,"Quinn said. "(The timing of the golf tournament) is not an idea I liked but it is part of the corporate responsibility going forward."

Six games into the regular season, Quinn is not enamoured with the Leafs' defensive zone coverage. Just as Leafs forwards are finding it much easier to do things in the offensive zone, so too are the opposing forwards.

"We still need some good work on our defensive zone coverage,"Quinn said after the Leafs beat the Canadiens 3-2 in Montreal on Saturday night. "That is part of growing confidence and understanding positioning and being dependable in situations.

"We somehow are missing our assignments. We have a lot of work in front of us because in spite of the rule changes -- everyone says it is going to be all (off the)rush -- the games I have watched have indicated most of it is offensive zone play."

While there is always room for improvement in all facets of the game, the Leafs' power play has been on fire. Led by Jason Allison, Jeff O'Neill, Darcy Tucker and the defence pair of Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle, the Leafs have scored 15 power-play goals on 51 advantages. With a success rate of 29.4%, they were in second in the NHL before yesterday's games, but their 15 goals were the most by a wide margin. The Detroit Red Wings were second with nine.

"We have some real creative guys and you hopefully have them take some ownership in the thing,"Quinn said. "Our guys have stepped up. It's going to continue to be an important element until the numbers of penalties reduce."


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