January 31, 2003
(TORONTO) -- With each passing year respect grows for the mighty Quinn, while it diminishes for Daniel Alfredsson in the eyes of Leafs Nation.
In his sixth year behind the bench of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pat Quinn has entered into Hall-of-fame territory --if he hadn't already-- thanks to a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, Saturday night at Air Canada Centre. It was his 600th career coaching victory. Only three others have accomplished the feat, Dick Irvin Sr., Scotty Bowman, and Al Arbour.
The rivalry between the Senators and Leafs is not one for the light of heart. It is nasty and getting worse with every game. Fueling the fire is a number of instances that always seem to revolve around Daniel Alfredsson.
Remember the hit from behind on Darcy Tucker back or the fake stick throwing incident where he mocked the Leafs' bench during a 7-1 drubbing because of Mats Sundin's suspension.
|Mats Sundin took his fair share of hits Saturday. |
(Graig Abel Photography)
Alfredsson, who had the Sens' lone goal in the loss, again put himself in the firing line when he caught Sundin with a knee in third period. Even before the hit he was booed loudly every time he touched the puck.
Tie Domi had seen enough and with Alfredsson in the box he went after Shaun Van Allan, who he accused of sticking Sundin on previous occasions. Van Allan didn't get the better of the incident. He is playing through a cracked jaw and really wasn't interested in dropping the gloves.
"You don't expect your captain to get butt-ended in the face twice," Domi said. "I fight for my teammates not for myself.
"We didn't go after their stars when the game was out of reach (in their favour back on January 8th)."
Domi was a hot commodity post-game for other reasons as well. The tough guy used Hockey Night in Canada as launching point to play the first game of his career with a visor.
After eye injuries to Darcy Tucker and Owen Nolan this season, plus watching Bryan Berard almost lose his sight when he was with the Leafs, Domi decided enough was enough for the sake of his family.
The extra equipment didn't hinder his physical style, removing his helmet before a bout with Ottawa's Shane Hnidy in the first period.
It's possible that if players see Domi using a face shield they may be more apt to don one themselves.
It doesn't sound like it is going to be a regular thing though.
"All I can say is I tried it," Domi said. "It's very tough to get used to."
Quinn was happy with the result, but doesn't like the way the Senators seemed to be using their sticks to get at his players. Joe Nieuwendyk left the game with a back injury after taking a Zdeno Chara crosscheck.
Quinn agreed with reporters that the rivalry can be best described as "hatred".
On a personal note, Quinn has now done almost everything in the game and the way he has the Leafs playing right now, the Stanley Cup may be on his resume soon enough.
Let's run down his accomplishments shall we: Two NHL coach of the Year honours in 1980 with the Philadelphia Flyers and 1992 with the Vancouver Canucks; Coached the NHL All-Star Game on three previous occasions (1981, 2000, 2002) and will be again this year in Minnesota; Led Team Canada to Olympic Gold in 2002 for the first time 50 years; Four of the five previous seasons Quinn's Leafs have cracked the 40 win barrier.
Not bad to say the least.
Clearly though beating the Senators brought as much joy to Quinn as did the 600th win.