As soon as you hear the words "vote of confidence" in an NHL market, no matter how they are used, there is a tenfold increase in the likelihood of the coach being canned. When questioned by a reporter, John Ferguson, Jr. did not offer up the proverbial vote for coach Quinn.
This says a lot about JFJ's general managing faculties. Quinn, quite possibly the best coach in the league, has been saddled with - all at once - the collective attitudes of Jeff O'Neill, Jason Allison and Eric Lindros. With a patchwork lineup and injury troubles as bad as any club, T.O. is still competing for a playoff spot. If Quinn is at fault in any way for the current state of the Leafs, it's for his own moves as GM 2.5+ years ago. The only way he should be let go is if management is acknowledging the start of a rebuilding process (which itself is not out of the question, and might even be a good idea).
Even if some players have 'stopped listening' to him, he's still a more valuable asset to the team than those players. He's good enough for Canada's Olympic team, but not good enough for the Leafs? Fire him at your peril, JFJ.
I was looking forward to Saturday all last week. On TV: The Battle of Ontario, followed by the Habs in Vancouver. A couple of potent, fun teams hosting a couple of clubs desperately fighting for a playoff spot - clubs that happened to be the Leafs and Habs.
What a disappointment. The Habs were down by six after just fourteen minutes of 'hockey,' summoning uncomfortable memories of Pat Roy's last game for les glorieux. The Original Six squads got pasted by a combined score of 15-2. Yeesh. At least they're holding up their end of the bargain to maintain the increase in scoring...
Speaking of the Original Six, two are safe bets for the playoffs (Detroit, Rangers), two are not (Boston, Chicago), and two are right on the bubble. Just imagine the uproar if Tampa and Atlanta squeak in at the expense of the Leafs and Habs... That's something only a gold medal would ameliorate.
Tonight, the Habbies are off to visit the #1 team in the league: the Carolina Hurricanes. Contrary to everyone's preseason projections, this team blows harder than Katrina. That's a good thing when you're a hurricane.
Just like everyone else, Carolina has run into injury trouble. Cory Stillman is questionable. Having him out of the lineup should prepare the 'Canes for playoff hockey, where Stillman usually disappears. The more severe loss is on the blueline with Wesley and Ward out long-term. As the Habs know full well, a lack of depth at defense is something that can be capitalized upon.
The Canadiens have actually played OK against the top teams in the East: 7-5 vs. Ottawa, Buffalo, Philly and the Rangers. Hey, when things have been this grim you search like hell for anything positive to say.
Today's the big day! Get out there and vote, Canada. Take your pick:
Those who campaign from the centre yet govern from the right.
Those who campaign from the centre yet govern from the extreme right (Hawks in sheeps' clothing).
The underdogs who actually have the balls to stand up to big business.
The severe underdogs who actually have the balls to stand up to big business.
Canada's next official opposition.