Missed chance bugs Quinn

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

As he celebrated his 500th game as Maple Leafs coach last night, Pat Quinn was asked for his best and worst moments during his six-plus seasons as Toronto bench boss.

The highlight, he said, is yet to come -- a Stanley Cup title for his Leafs.

On the other hand, he had no trouble picking out his biggest disappointment as Leaf coach -- the 2001 Eastern Conference semi-final loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Quinn pointed out the Leafs enjoyed a 3-2 lead in games and held a two-goal lead on home ice in Game 6. But the Devils came back to win that contest 4-2, staving off elimination and setting up a pivotal Game 7 in New Jersey.

"We lost the series in a deciding game, one I feel we didn't compete very well in," Quinn said of Toronto's season-ending 5-1 loss. "That's about the lowest it's been here."

WAR GAMES

Quinn had the media howling with laughter when asked about Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock's decision to bring his Flyers to the U.S. army training academy in West Point, N.Y., this past week to participate in off-ice drills.

"In his earlier days they used him as hills to hide behind," Quinn said, referring to Hitchcock's past weight problems.

Quinn quickly added that it was meant as a compliment aimed at the number of pounds Hitchcock has shed dating back to his junior hockey days.

THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE

The wait is over for Karel Pilar. The injured Maple Leafs defenceman has been cleared to begin skating either today or tomorrow for the first time since the summer.

"I'm pretty excited about it," Pilar said yesterday. "It looks like so far so good. I just want it to keep going and, hopefully, I'll be back around Christmas."

In August, Pilar had a second bout of viral myopathy in his heart. It's a condition that occurs when the heart muscle stiffens and can't pump enough blood to the body.

Meanwhile, Nik Antropov identified his mystery ailment as a leg injury.

Antropov participated in the morning skate yesterday but reported stiffness. His status is day to day.

After the Leafs' loss last night, there was speculation that Antropov was returning home to Kazakhstan because of a death in the family.


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