Season surprised Quinn

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:05 AM ET

Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn says he knew his team was capable of playing the kind of hockey it has recently, but with a playoff spot in doubt, the season hardly has unfolded as he thought.

"I'd like to be able to go back I guess and change some things, certainly some results in February when we came back off of the (Olympic) break," the coach said.

"I always believed we have a pretty good group here and we would come together. Until Christmas, I didn't mind the way things were going. Then (a slump) seemed to coincide with Bryan McCabe being injured on that (early January Western Canadian) trip we were on. We played one of our best games of the season in Vancouver and lost (4-3). After that, it became a real struggle for us (eight losses in a row, one in overtime).

"But you can't go back. All we can do now is the old cliche; win each game from here on out and whatever happens will happen."

IN THE SHADOW OF KATE SMITH

With the Wachovia Center in use by the basketball 76ers last night, the Leafs crossed the parking lot and practiced in the old Spectrum.

Quinn coached the 1979-80 Flyers to an NHL-record 35-game unbeaten streak and was greeted yesterday by several senior building staff.

LOOSE LEAFS

Toronto continues to get by with the minimum 20 players, keeping forward John Pohl on hand as a non-roster emergency callup. Chad Kilger had a sore neck after the Leafs' game on Wednesday and Darcy Tucker took stitches and suffered a puffy black eye from Kilger's stick on Thursday, but no changes are anticipated tonight. "I'm sure there will be some decision made on John soon," said Quinn, noting the Marlies play at home tonight against Manitoba. "I'll talk to (GM) John (Ferguson) and see how he wants to work that out." ... Few things have gone as planned for the Leafs this year, but Nik Antropov said the first line perfectly mapped out the tying 2-2 goal in Boston on Thursday with Jean-Sebastien Aubin pulled. "We had a meeting with Mats (Sundin) and said if we lost the faceoff we would jump both wingers," Antropov said. "We did a great job not letting the puck out. He's a right-handed shot, so I knew to get the puck on net and find him in the crowd.


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