Sat, Apr 22, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Maple Leafs let Quinn go

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Toronto fired head coach Pat Quinn along with his assistant Rick Ley after the team failed to reach the playoff for the first time in seven years

AP , TORONTO AND PITTSBURGH

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Pat Quinn addresses the media during a team practice at the Corel Centre in Ottawa in this April 13, 2004, photo. The Maple Leafs fired Pat Quinn on Thursday, two days after Toronto missed the playoffs for the first time in his seven seasons as coach.

PHOTO: AP

The Maple Leafs fired Pat Quinn on Thursday, two days after Toronto missed the playoffs for the first time in his seven seasons as coach.

The 63-year-old Quinn led Toronto to a 41-8-33 record this season. It was only the fourth season in his stellar 19-year coaching career that he missed the playoffs.

Quinn had one year remaining on his contract. Longtime assistant Rick Ley was also fired.

The team called an afternoon news conference to make the official announcement.

Overall, Quinn went 300-52-222 with 26 shootout and overtime losses as Leafs coach, twice leading Toronto to the Eastern Conference final, losing to Buffalo in 1998-1999 and Carolina 2001-2002.

He's fourth all-time in coaching victories with 657 behind Scotty Bowman (1,244), Al Arbour (781) and Dick Irvin (692).

Quinn became Toronto's 25th head coach in June 1998, inheriting a club that missed the playoffs in successive seasons. It didn't take long for Quinn to make an impact. The Leafs set a club record for wins (45), reached the conference final and Quinn was runner-up for the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year in 1998-1999.

Penguins release GM

Craig Patrick, the ice hockey Hall of Fame general manager who built the Pittsburgh Penguins' two Stanley Cup winning teams, but had to tear the club apart because of financial problems, is being let go after nearly 17 years on the job.

Patrick's contract expires July 1, and team President Ken Sawyer said Thursday the Penguins will look for a new general manager.

Patrick, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001, was long seen as one of the sport's best talent evaluators. He drafted Jaromir Jagr and Sidney Crosby, traded for Ron Francis and Ulf Samuelsson, and hired Bob Johnson and Scotty Bowman as coaches.

National Hockey League attendance was up 2.4 percent from the last season before the lockout, with the league setting records for average and total fans and the Montreal Canadiens selling out all of their home games to set a team record.

The NHL played to 91.7 percent of capacity, drawing 20,854,169 fans for 1,230 regular-season games for an average of 16,955. In 2003-04 -- the last season before the lockout -- the league drew 20,356,199 for an average of 16,550. The previous records of 16,760 a game and 20,614,613 overall were set in 2001-2002.

Montreal sold out all 41 homes games at 21,273-seat Bell Centre to set a team record with 872,193. The Canadiens broke the mark of 861,072 -- or 21,002 per game -- they set in 1996-1997.

The Canadiens, New York Rangers, Calgary, Colorado, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Toronto and Vancouver played to 98 percent of capacity or better over the full season.

The Avalanche sold out each game at 18,007-seat Pepsi Center, extending the NHL's longest current sellout streak to 480 games, including the playoffs. The streak began in November 1995 during the team's inaugural season in Denver.

Twenty-four of the 30 NHL clubs finished even with or ahead of their 2003-2004 performance. The top gainers were Pittsburgh (up 33 percent), Carolina (27 percent), Calgary (16 percent), Tampa Bay (15 percent), Nashville (10 percent), Buffalo (10 percent), Ottawa (10 percent), Boston (7 percent) and San Jose (6 percent).

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