Elliotte Friedman is a reporter and commentator at The Score, Canada's 24-hour sports highlights and information network. He has covered the Leafs extensively for a number of years and has a birds-eye view of what's going on with the Leafs and the NHL.
Mogilny signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Canucks, and immediately fell into an irreversible downward spiral. He fought with another defensive-minded coach, Tom Renney, and scored 84 goals over the next three-and-a-half seasons before Quinn's successor, Brian Burke, dealt him to New Jersey.
"I didn't accomplish anything here, so it's not a big deal," Mogilny said upon one of his returns to the British Columbia city. That was true, but most players wouldn't admit it.
| Mogilny is an underrated defensive forward who played in the Devils tight-checking system . |
(Credit: Dave Sanford/Allsport)
Mogilny loved playing for the Devils amidst a large Russian population and the anonymity that most hockey players have in the New York area. He won a Stanley Cup in 1999, and was a significant factor in Scott Gomez's early NHL success.
"It was beautiful," he said.
However, he remained his typical inconsistent self, which is why Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello refused to come close to the four-year, $22 million contract the Maple Leafs gave him last summer.
Never one to avoid the truth as he sees it, Mogilny admitted Toronto was his second choice during the conference call announcement. And check his breakdown: four in the first three games, then none in 10. But the biggest concern is how he feels about his situation. Mogilny has made it very clear that he's not thrilled about the obsessive analysis of hockey in Canada.
"Read the newspaper, turn on the TV, listen to the radio and there is not much positive," he says. "Complaints, everywhere. Come on. Life's too short.
"When I leave the stadium, I don't care about hockey. I've got a life."
There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, most Maple Leafs fans could use this kind of perspective. But 13 years later, sometimes you still wonder if his off-ice attitude seeps into his on-ice performance.