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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Pat Quinn to Coach the Penguins?

Mark Madden says that Pat Quinn will be the next coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Madden gives no details as to why he believes this other than to write "Stay tuned for details!"

That story was posted at 2:45pm on January 7th and no further details have emerged.

Michel Therrien remains coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins and I have heard no solid rumours that he is going to be replaced. At least not in the next little while.

Pat Quinn recently coached the Canadian Junior team to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships.

Quinn has coached the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and, most recently, the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL.

For years the knock against Quinn was that he could not work with young players. Many say his success with the Canadian Juniors debunks that opinion. I don't believe that's true.

Team Canada was a very well assembled team that, despite not being the overwhelming tournament favourites, was filled with talent. No NHL coach ever gets to coach a team with that much natural talent on it - no, not even Mike Babcock.

But was Quinn good for the young Canadian team? It's possible that he was, but living in Toronto I saw Quinn coach first-hand here for seven seasons and I was not impressed. He often to favour older players over young talent and never seemed to have a good rapport with his players. It's possible that he would be the coach that could bring structure to the Penguins but, again, I don't believe it would work out well.

Granted, the Leafs organization was a fractured one during Pat Quinn's time, but nothing he did with the Leafs impressed me.

Pat Quinn has a 657-481-154-26 record in the NHL but he has never won a Stanley Cup in his 19 years of coaching. Pat Quinn reached the Stanley Cup Finals twice - once with Philadelphia in 1980 and once with Vancouver in 1994. TSN started spreading rumours about a return to the NHL for Quinn as soon as the World Junior Championships ended. They mentioned not particular teams however, just that "some teams would likely be interested."

Pat Quinn also coached Team Canada to two other golds medals - one at the 2002 Olympics and one at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Again, those teams had rosters of superstars unlike any modern NHL team.

IF the Pittsburgh Penguins are planning on making a coaching change, I would suggest John Tortorella before thinking of Pat Quinn.

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