Quinn faces the music

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

Four years ago, coach Pat Quinn came back from Salt Lake City to a hero's welcome at the airport.

Yesterday, he trudged through deserted Pearson at 4:30 a.m., his much-hyped Team Canada players without a medal and his luggage in a three-hour hold from the overnight flight from Europe.

But reinforced by several cups of java and back in the comfortable milieu of running a Maple Leafs' practice, he was ready to face the critics on home soil. Regrets, he has a few, but other aspects of Canada's game plan he wouldn't alter.

"Scoring especially, I have no idea why we dried up," he said of losing three games by shutouts. "We fiddled around with lines and you can't help thinking 'should I have kept a couple of guys together longer?' "

Quinn said he had not been keeping tabs on the reaction back home in the days since Canada was ousted.

"It's the nature of life to form blame or knock people down. But I know those young men went and played their hearts out. We were capable of more and didn't do it. There will be a full evaluation and assessment (by Hockey Canada). If something jumps out, we'll look at it."

Bryan McCabe also came back to the Leafs yesterday, but the defenceman insisted he wasn't soured by his second misadventure on the big ice in as many years. During the lockout, the second team National Hockey League all-star had one goal in 10 games for a Swedish team.

"There not as much contact on the big ice (neutralizing one of his strengths), but that's not an excuse for us not winning," he said. "I was the seventh defenceman and though I didn't play a lot, it beat the alternative of sitting in the stands with a suit on." Partner Tomas Kaberle, who won a bronze medal for the Czech Republic, hoped the NHL would expand the break from 12 days to 16 for the 2010 Games in Vancouver to cut down on wear and tear on players.


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