So-called Leafs fans should lay off Quinn

GEORGE GROSS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

Beware the Ides of March!

Particularly if you are a hockey coach.

More so, if your name happens to be Pat Quinn.

In Newfoundland, March is the month for seal hunts, as Paul McCartney can attest. In Toronto they are trying to club Pat Quinn.

The hunt for Quinn's skin is nothing new for Toronto's so-called sports fans. They do it all the time, regardless of whether they condemn the coaches of the Maple Leafs, Raptors, Argonauts or Blue Jays. If their team doesn't win, it's never the players, the general manager, or the owner's fault. It always is the fault of the coach.

The old adage that you cannot fire 23 players, but can get rid of a coach more easily, is the reasoning these so-called fans use. Most of the time they don't know what they are talking about, but still vent their vitriolic and illogical arguments.

So, what do the fans have against Quinn? Let's not forget that his leadership enabled the Maple Leafs to make the playoffs every year since he took over? Or, that he took the team to the final final four on more than one occasion? Or that he coached Team Canada to gold at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 and the last World Cup of hockey?

Ah, the latest argument I've heard is that, in the opinions of these yahoos, Quinn is too loyal to older players. Is that a crime? Quinn comes from the George (Punch) Imlach school of coaching and, if I'm correct, Punch led the Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the 1960s.

But let me remind you that when Imlach's Maple Leafs won the 1967 Stanley Cup, some of the players were getting so old that they could have applied for their old-age pension cheques.

If Quinn is guilty of one thing, it may be that he has failed to see the change in today's athletes versus those of the 1960s.

The difference between the older players of the 1960s and today's so-called gladiators is that in the 1960s all the players were proud to wear a maple leaf on their sweaters Those players were proud of their city. They had heart and they had courage. Unfortunately, this cannot be said about some of the players who came to Toronto to collect their multi-million dollar cheques.

Some of the suspect millionaire players now are expressing politically correct statements about Quinn. But are they performing to the best of their ability and not picking up foolish penalties, or playing Santa Claus in March by giving the puck away to the opposition several times in a game? Not on your Nelly!

Instead, by their consistent lack of effort and discipline, they essentially join the naysayers who are frothing at the mouth for the chance to stab Quinn.

And ol' Patrick, a lawyer and student of the Latin language, probably would remark: "Et tu veterans?"

He may also say: "Heck, I didn't pick you for our team."

GROSSLY ABBREVIATED

The supreme commander of global soccer, Joseph Blatter, is turning 70 next week. Many happy returns, Sepp, and a very successful 2006 World Cup in Germany ... The 50th anniversary of Herb Carnegie's Future Aces Creed will be held March 30 at Toronto's Centre for the Arts. Carnegie, a black hockey player with the Quebec Aces in the 1940s and 1950s never made the NHL because of his colour. He turned this adversity into a positive by writing the Future Aces Creed and by becoming a successful businessman and golfer. He is a member of the Order of Canada and in June, York University will confer him with an honorary doctor of law degree.


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