Quinn gets canned

Toronto Sun Sports

, Last Updated: 3:25 PM ET

Pat Quinn, who took over a bad Leafs team in 1998 and led them to the Stanley Cup semi-finals eight months later was fired by the team this morning along with longtime assistant Rick Ley.

Quinn, a two-time NHL coach of the year, was apparently the victim of a power struggle with general manager John Ferguson, who shares the blame for his club’s failure to qualify for the playoffs this season.

The outcome may have been inevitable. Club insiders have long described the relationship between the coach and GM as strained at best.

Ferguson was hired as GM three years ago, after Quinn agreed to relinquish the title and concentrate on coaching the Leafs.

“This change is as much about the future, and where we are going as an organization, as it is as much about what has transpired here,” Ferguson told a 1 p.m. news conference.

He said a search for Quinn’s successor would start immediately.

While he called Quinn “a consummate professional,” Ferguson said he was looking for “a new voice, a new approach.”

Paul Maurice, a former Carolina coach who is now behind the bench of the AHL Toronto Marlies, is seen as a candidate.

Quinn, who had a year left on his contract, isn’t likely to be unemployed for very long.

Teams who may have an interest in hiring Quinn include the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks.

Quinn, the fourth-winningest coach in NHL history, guided the Vancouver Canucks to the 1994 Stanley Cup final against the New York Rangers.

Overall, the Hamilton native went 300-222-52 with 26 shootout and overtime losses as Leafs coach, twice leading Toronto to the Eastern Conference final, losing to Buffalo in 1998-99 and Carolina 2001-02.

He’s fourth all-time in coaching victories with 657 behind only Scotty Bowman (1,244), Al Arbour (781) and Dick Irvin (692).

Quinn was also coach of the 2002 gold-medal winning Canadian Olympic hockey team.

-- With files from The Canadian Press

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