Well I guess the writing was on the wall for a while. Pat Quinn was fired today by the Toronto Maple Leafs, ending a very long and arguably very successful tenure behind the most famous bench in the hockey world.
People will debate this decision for a good while (you won't be able to watch sports tv in Toronto today without it being talked about to death) as well as the success of Quinn as coach (high payroll over the years and no championship to show for it), but I think it's kind of a sad day for Maple Leafs fans.
As I have made clear numerous times, I think Quinn is a bad coach. He puts far too much faith in the wrong players (Aki Berg, Nik Antropov, Mikael Renberg anyone?) and has no concept of defensive end play, but he has a personality that players obviously like. He is a good face for a franchise and would do well as a GM, I think.
But Quinn was the architect of his own undoing when he gave up the GM reigns a few years ago. Forced to decide between being the coach and being the GM, he chose the hands-on daily interaction of coaching.
The consequence, of course, was that he was no longer the boss and had to serve under a new GM - one he didn't choose.
Enter the idiot: John Ferguson Jr.
In a fair world, Ferguson would be out on his butt too, but this is MLSE, run by the Teacher's Pension Plan - common sense does not rule. It's all about politics and right now Ferguson has the right people on his side.
We can only hope that'll change.
As for Quinn, not only does he get $1.5M from the Leafs next year not to coach, but he will quickly land on his feet with another organization (Phoenix perhaps?).
We'll see who becomes the new coach...farm team coach Paul Maurice is the early favourite.