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Is now the time for a new contract for Quinn?, part I

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by Elliotte Friedman

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.

These are good times for Cuban cigar retailers in downtown Toronto. First, noted connoisseur Michael Jordan announced a return to the NBA. (Remember, you can't buy that country's stogies in the USA.) And, another aficionado, Pat Quinn, is close to signing a contract extension as head coach and general manager of the Maple Leafs.

The merits of both moves are being heavily debated, but the Jordan discussion is for another Web site. So, a case study of Quinn it is.

You can't fault the man for trying to get something done before the expiry date of his current deal, which is the end of this season. Quinn won't discuss Curtis Joseph's contract talks, so you can imagine how he reacts to questions about his own situation.

But is a new contract at this time - and I want to make it clear, at this time - as beneficial for the organization as it is for him? The only people who can certainly say, 'Yes' are his family and the members of his fan club.

When news of the possible extension broke, some argued that Quinn didn't deserve it because the roster isn't any better now than when he arrived in 1998, one year before adding the responsibilities of general manager. Did I miss the Canadian legalization of marijuana? That thinking is just ridiculous. Now, you could make an argument for the team as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. Before he came, the Maple Leafs weren't even legitimate contenders for the playoffs.

Unlike most other NHL GMs, Quinn has done very well in free agency. Curtis Joseph, Steve Thomas, Gary Roberts and Shayne Corson were all strong signings. Alexander Mogilny looks like he will be the next member of that group. And, although last summer's logic in not pursuing Rob Blake was nonsensical, the team's Board of Directors must be impressed that he is, at least, trying to be responsible with a budget.
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