May 27, 2002
TORONTO, ONTARIO: Practice Day
Q. How do you feel being back out there with the guys, away from the other stuff that's dominated your life the past few days?
COACH QUINN: Well, obviously, I'm feeling better, that's a big thing. I'm at the point where I can resume my responsibilities, and I probably feel a little bit better than I have for the past couple of months. Other than to say I'm fine, I'm happy to be back, that should be it.
Q. We've been told that you were cleared to coach Game 6. What's the picture for Game 7 or are you not looking that far ahead at this point?
COACH QUINN: Unless I have some sort of relapse, which nobody is expecting, I'm clear. I'm clear to resume my role.
Q. You'll be free just to hop on the charter and go down?
COACH QUINN: Yes.
Q. Apart from the hockey, did this thing scare you at all, catch you off guard at all?
COACH QUINN: It did. Maybe it should be something for everybody to watch. Yearly I've gone and done my stress tests and all sorts of stuff, and maybe you are told you should drop a couple of pounds or watch what you're doing. But to be confronted with that, within a year of the last test, doesn't seem to make any sense. I don't know what the right answer is, but it happened. I don't even know what message I want to pass on. Don't trust your testers? (Laughter).
Q. You're not ready to preach the gospel of healthy living and all that?
COACH QUINN: There are a lot of people that have lived a lot worse than anything I do. (Laughter)
Q. Looking back, do you think your work load this year contributed to your problem, or is that too easy?
COACH QUINN: I don't know. I know that I'll probably do a lot of assessment after we are finished with the hockey season. And decide what's your own personal best interests, as well. It wasn't anything that ahead of time I thought was going to be a problem, nor did I think it was as it went on. We've got, in my opinion, some very competent hockey people working with the Toronto Maple Leafs. A lot of the responsibilities, say, of the manager, are looked after on a daily basis. They are done head of time, just like the guy that's running the hospital business that I was just at. He's not down checking the blood and doing all that sort of thing. He's making sure people are in the right spots to do their jobs. I felt that that was being looked after, and the job that I like the best and wanted to do was the coaching part, which I spent most of my time doing.
Q. What was it like to be in the hospital for that game you missed and at home for the other one, just sitting back and watching? How difficult was that?
COACH QUINN: Well, it's one of the reasons I wanted to come back to the coaching, why I've come back to it a couple of times is because it's lousy watching somewhere else, upstairs away from the players, away from the game, away from the ups and downs that are happening. I must admit, it was lousy for a couple of nights watching.
Q. How hard was the third period the other night?
COACH QUINN: You know what, it was hard. But only because I'm like every other fan at that point, every other fan of the Leafs, anyway. They want good things to happen at the end. It's part of being in the hockey business; there's terror all the way, it seems like.
Q. You can't seem to get coaching out of your blood; it must feel the same to be back here after what's gone on.
COACH QUINN: Every man that coaches probably has their own opinion about what drives him into it. When they spout it out or put it down on paper afterwards, they might read it a few years later and say, "Give me a break." (Laughter). I know I wanted to come back to it. I'm glad that I've had opportunities to do that. The players mean a lot to me. And a lot of times, reading all the stuff this year that I don't talk to them and all that stuff, I think that's crap. Those people they don't even know what's going on, for crying out loud. So those are the disappointing things that want to chase you out of coaching. But unless you're in the room, you don't know what's going on. You think you've got side door, back door stuff you're working on all the time, as far as getting in the dressing room, and most of the time, you get the squeaky wheels that do not belong in the dressing room anyway and should be moved on out of there. Nevertheless, it's something I've enjoyed doing.
Q. Are you going to consider giving up one of your jobs over the summer?
COACH QUINN: I think that we're just covering territory that's been covered I don't know how many times. At the end of the year, the past three years, I've sat down with Ken Dryden and we've talked about the hockey club and what might be the best ways to go. We'll do that again.
Q. It's your call, though?
COACH QUINN: We will do it. We will sit down. As far as making changes, pretty much. I mean, he's the president, but I run the hockey department.
Q. Your perspective on a couple of these games has been a little bit different. Do you see anything different from the bench, seeing a guy like Bryan McCabe, just your impressions of how he's evolved?
COACH QUINN: We watch the TVs a second and third time. When you are behind the bench you watch it for the first time from there, and then you see it again and again. All I did there was avoid or miss watching it from behind the bench. I've seen it from that angle a lot. And no, it doesn't show you anything different, except that the TV commentators and the analysts pick up on some things that are sometimes insightful, and sometimes they create stuff that doesn't mean anything. They are trying to put a story out there, too.
Q. When Bryan McCabe first came here, you must have had an idea of what kind of player you imagined he might be or could be within this framework. Has he become that or has he become something different than what you had imagined?
COACH QUINN: I think, like a lot of players, you look at where they seem to be in their development. You are hopeful that wherever they happen to be, that you can be helpful to them to improve to a point. That fits your description of what's a good defenseman, what's a good center and how do you make your best contribution to the team and organization. With Bryan, or with any player, you don't fix, here is where you want them, here is where -- because I've always believed that the players should be challenged and the coaches should challenge the players every day to get better. That's why some of the times when I see Junior and lesser level coaches, teaming systems and all that sort of things I get so frustrated when I watch that, because they are the ones that are keeping these kids back. I always believe you challenge as a coach, you challenge yourself as a player, and if Bryan had learned that in himself, then that would look after him. I believe he has learned that and he's become better and better. I don't think he's reached where he's at -- I don't think he's reached where he's at, that's a good one. (Laughter).
Q. Do you think the line combinations that Rick used in the last game are appropriate to continue in the next few games?
COACH QUINN: The coaching unit, we discuss all ramifications of the game plan including lines and we will continue to do that. We have done some yesterday and today and we'll continue to do that tomorrow. At this point, I would not let you know what we've been discussing.
Q. Do you sense watching your team that they are getting stronger the longer this series goes, that maybe key guys are getting their rhythm back?
COACH QUINN: Clearly, we need to prolong it to stay alive and we need players to get better. I don't know that we've continued to get better. We've been like this, and as players have comeback and kind of fit their way back in and started to feel more comfortable individually out there, we have the possibility of being better. But our best game needs to happen here tomorrow night. We have to be ready for that.
Q. Not to beat a dead horse, but can you tell us, what, if anything, Roberts has brought to the playoffs?
COACH QUINN: In the role where Roberts is right now, after he got hurt in that first series and we tried to bring him back, we had him fourth line; it doesn't fit for him. He's like a lot of guys that have trouble coming off the bench. So sometimes in the fourth line role, that's hard for him. He is smart. He's a very bright player. He can use that skill to help beat opposition. I mean, here is a guy that's competed against some very high levels. He's been captain, been a leader of teams and he is a leader. His playoff season for us was interrupted earlier by injury and then just not having regular linemates later on that seemed to fit. He, like others, we look to have their best game tomorrow night.
Q. Do you feel that the intensity is there with him; that's often questioned in the media?
COACH QUINN: Well, I'm sure you are all experts on intensity, so you'll be able to pass your opinion on. Don't worry about intensity in any of the players in that room.
Q. Can you comment on the job that Rick did in your absence overall?
COACH QUINN: They are good coaches. Proud to be working with them.
Q. Similar styles, you and Rick?
COACH QUINN: I don't imagine so. I think we are different people. Styles where? Behind the bench? During the game? That's the only place where it turns out majorly different. No, we are different guys, different place, different time.
Q. Losing at home in Game 4, winning on the road in Game 5, can you take the temperature of your team?
COACH QUINN: We've been around long enough to know that you can play better than a team on the other side in a lot of areas and lose the hockey game; that they may be sitting there feeling the same thing after Game 5 down there. Game 4 is probably statistically, territorially, chance-wise, probably a game we should have won. Didn't happen. But that's all stuff that we can't control anymore. The only thing we can try and do is control ourselves to be ready enough to play tomorrow night. And in control, not just control ourselves. We need to be playing on that right edge for us to be successful.
Q. What's more surprising, having scored five goals or that your are still in having scored five goals?
COACH QUINN: Are you trying to make up for the three games I missed today or what the hell is this? (Laughter).
Q. Well, you've had three days off.
COACH QUINN: Well, thank goodness. (Laughs).
Q. What's more surprising, that you have scored five goals, or that you have scored five goals and still in the series, since offense is a premium for both teams.
COACH QUINN: I've been away too long. (Laughter). How come we haven't scored more?
Q. You are still in the series. What's more surprising, you scored five goals or you scored five goals and you're still in the series? It not often you win two games with five goals.
COACH QUINN: Each of the game, except for one, I think has been separated by one goal.
COACH QUINN: Well ... (Laughter).
Q. Can you win 1-0?
COACH QUINN: Absolutely. My goodness. (Laughter). We lost to Chicago in four straight after knocking out St. Louis in 1995 in a seven-game series for the St. Louis one, four straight games, three overtimes, one goal for each of those games. So you win series that way. Should they have won the series, Chicago, in that? They stunk, but they won. They didn't play any hockey. They shot it in and shot it out. It was ugly. It was terrible. But they advanced.
Q. How comfortable were you with your face on the Jumbotron the other night?
COACH QUINN: Not very much. But I recognize that -- you hate it, but that part of it is show-biz, but I guess that's what it is.
Q. Did you like Dempsey's game the other night?
COACH QUINN: Absolutely. He's a terrific kid. Most of us have always wanted him to do well and succeed. Based on his game the other night, and his partner didn't play very well, so on top of that, he was pretty solid.
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