Quinn: Motivation isn't coach's job

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

Pat Quinn figured it's not up to him to light a fire under his Maple Leafs, surmising that any player should have that desire in himself.

"That motivational box is locked from the inside and you create an environment for people to try to succeed in," the Leafs coach said.

"Attitude is personal. It is the one thing (each individual) can control. If you are looking for other people to provide attitude, you are not going to succeed. Motivation is part of the whole environment, it's not just lighting a fire. That fire should be lit in someone anyway. That's where the competitiveness part comes from."

Which brings us to Mariusz Czerkawski, who, if Quinn sticks tonight to the lines he put together in practice yesterday, won't have a better environment created for him. In the morning after a brutal defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins, Czerkawski was summoned out of exile to skate on a line with captain Mats Sundin and Darcy Tucker.

Czerkawski has not played since Oct. 27, and though he had a shoulder injury, has been healthy for a while now.

Quinn was adamant he was not sure whether he would use that trio and other new lines in Raleigh against the Carolina Hurricanes, but tossing Czerkawski in with Sundin and then pulling him out would be somewhat cruel.

SAYING RIGHT THINGS

Czerkawski and the concept of motivation have mixed together about as well as oil and water through much of his NHL career. Czerkawski had an assist in six games last month and showed little interest in properly earning his $500,000 US contract. Maddening for coaches in Czerkawski's past is that he has talent -- he has broken the 20-goal barrier six times -- but does not always apply himself. But Czerkawski yesterday was saying the right things.

"I'm excited," said Czerkawski, who often trained with Sundin in Stockholm last summer and was told by Sundin that Toronto would be a good place to sign. "I am willing to do anything here. Hopefully it will be a lot of fun. I have to stay focused, but that should not be a problem. It's probably going to be tough to sleep (last night)."

Quinn also had Eric Lindros between Alex Steen and Tie Domi, and put Jeff O'Neill on a line with centre Kyle Wellwood and Matt Stajan. The line of Jason Allison between Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky was intact. Chad Kilger appears to be out of the mix, and there is a small chance Clarke Wilm or Wade Belak could be back in again.

"I think players have to understand it is not always status quo, especially if you are not working," Quinn said. "You shake it up hopefully to get them to think about what their jobs are again rather than just being in a cruise out there."'


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