Cup win strictly a short-term goal

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

The Maple Leafs no longer can try to spend their way to a Stanley Cup and the new collective bargaining agreement makes trades a tricky business, too.

But Pat Quinn wants no part of the alternative.

The coach and former general manager was quizzed yesterday on how Toronto can emulate the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the Cup just 12 years after their expansion birth, while the Leafs' drought nears 40 years. However, in building from the bottom, the Bolts suffered nine years without a playoff spot, a futility record that netted them a number of high draft picks, including Vince Lecavalier who went first overall in 1998.

The Washington Capitals also are leaning to the long way to respectability, playing their kids and collecting draft picks.

"I don't want to emulate that," Quinn said with a scowl. "I won't be working if we go through what some teams go through, to be bad to get good.

"Though you can buy some (players), you have to pay a lot more attention to your drafting. I think we've done a pretty good job. We've got some kids (Alex Steen, Matt Stajan, Kyle Wellwood, Mikael Tellqvist), considering that part of our past philosophy has been to go out there at the trade deadline and see if you can get over the hump."

The Leafs dealt away Alyn McCauley, Brad Boyes and some high draft picks chasing Owen Nolan and Brian Leetch.

"Usually they're costly moves in terms of your long-term (goals)," Quinn said.

The Lightning's run to the Cup in 2004 was tracked closely by Leafs winger Darcy Tucker, who played 167 games in Tampa Bay before a trade here in 2000.

"I was happy for Vinny Lecavalier and guys such as Pavel Kubina, the guys that had been there through the hard times," Tucker said. "They deserved to win it.

"I'm surprised by the fact they've been a little slow starting this year, but I'm sure they'll get better," Tucker said. "We just hope they give us one more (sub-par game) before they get rolling."


Videos

Photos