All's forgiven

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Curtis Joseph and Pat Quinn are willing to let bygones be bygones.

More than three years after the star goaltender and veteran coach parted company on frosty terms, both men claim they would welcome a reunion as part of Team Canada for the coming Winter Olympics in Turin.

"Absolutely. That's a fair thing to say, at least on my part," Joseph said from Montreal, where his Phoenix Coyotes took on the Habs last night at the Bell Centre.

One of the pleasant surprises of the 2005-06 season, Joseph deservedly has earned serious consideration to land a spot with the Canadian Olympic team because of his fine play for the upstart Coyotes and their coach, Wayne Gretzky, who also serves as the executive director of Team Canada.

"If he's selected, I'd be real happy to have him again," said Quinn, who returns as the Canadian coach.

Rumblings of a Quinn-Joseph rift first surfaced at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics after the Swedes thumped Cujo and Team Canada 5-2 in the opener for both teams.

Martin Brodeur replaced Joseph for the next game and played the rest of the way, even though reports suggested Joseph was told he would get another start.

Just days after the Canadians captured the gold medal, the rumourmongers had a field day when Joseph did not shake Quinn's hand during a pre-game ceremony in Toronto honouring Team Canada, offering his blocker instead.

When summer arrived, Joseph turned down a three-year, $24-million US offer from the Leafs to leave Toronto and join the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. As he left, Joseph implied the Leafs might not be as dedicated as the Wings to winning a Cup, an assertion Quinn later would call "B.S."

But listening to both men coo about each other this week, it appears time has healed all wounds.

"We never had a bad word or argument," Joseph said. "(Contract) negotiations may not have gone as planned but I still respect Pat. I saw him in Florida when I was with the Red Wings and we shook hands and had a nice chat.

"Looking back I had a great time in Toronto. And if I'm asked (for Team Canada again) I certainly wouldn't refuse."

Joseph is willing to be the No. 3 goaltender and sit in the stands, but understandably would like to know if that is to be his role well ahead of time. He was burned in 1998 when Team Canada coach Marc Crawford waited until the team charter was well on its way to Japan before informing Joseph that he would be the third goalie.

"Sure I would be willing to serve as (No. 3)," he said. "It's always an honour to be picked for your country."

Quinn, like Joseph, said he holds no grudges.

"Curtis, as far as I'm concerned, is one of the best goaltenders I've ever had, and I still feel that way about him," Quinn said. "He's playing awesome right now and he might very well be a guy who could play for Team Canada if the selection group feels he's the guy. I would have no trouble with that whatsoever. As far as I'm concerned, he's a top quality individual and a heck of a goaltender."

Quinn feels the Salt Lake situation was blown out of proportion.

"I had selected him as the starting guy and the next game I decided to make a change," Quinn said. "It wasn't anything against Curtis at all.

"Besides I wasn't the only one. I didn't just make these decisions in the closet. All of the hockey people were involved in this sort of stuff."


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