October 09 2009 03:34PM
It looks like Pat Quinn's trip down memory lane after Thursday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames has cost the Edmonton Oilers coach $10,000 by way of a fine from the NHL. Who says talk is cheap?
In this case, Quinn didn't nearly get his money's worth for waxing nostalgic about the bad old days of vigilante justice after Jarome Iginla took Sheldon Souray into the end boards at Rexall Place.
Apparently, a fistfight initiated by captain Ethan Moreau as retribution for the play wasn't sufficient retribution in the eyes of the 66-year-old Oilers coach, who gave fist-pumping mouth-breathers everywhere something to "Hell, ya" about with his post-game $10,000 take on what unfolded.
"I don't understand the players of today ... if that had happened in my era, the player would have been hit over the head with a stick right afterwards. That's the way you dealt with things, in the era I come from, you deal dirt with dirt. They won't let the vigilante stuff ... why give him the honour of a fistfight?"
Over the top
I get the from-the-gut sentiment that prompted Quinn to say what he did, especially when emotions remain high right after a disappointing loss, but he chose his words badly, to say the least.
I like a good punch-up as much as anybody, but anything that can even be loosely interpreted as justifying having any player -- even when framed as "back in the day" -- swing his stick at the head of another player can't be allowed to slide by. That doesn't belong in the game. Never has. Never will.
It's OK to go Wayne Maki on somebody? Really? It's OK to have somebody convulsing on the ice like Ted Green did after Maki clubbed him in a stick-swinging battle? I think not. I know not. How about you?
I have a lot of respect for Quinn, and I'm old enough to be an old-school guy, but the old coach is flat-out wrong to suggest anything more than what Moreau did, very badly mind you, Thursday was warranted as retribution for Iginla's hit.
Pay the price
When a play unfolds as the situation with Iginla and Souray did, there's nothing wrong, within the framework of what's acceptable in the NHL, for Moreau to go looking for Iginla as he did.
The problem, as I see it, Thursday, is Moreau didn't get the job done. Had he punched Iginla bloody in a toe-to-toe exchange, would Quinn have said what he said? Would we be talking about this today? I think not.
You can try to read motive into Iginla's hit if you must, but I believe the Calgary captain when he says he didn't mean for it to happen the way it did. Iginla is as honest a player as there is in the league and always has been. If he wasn't, he would've beat the hell out of Moreau when the gloves came off instead of holding up when Moreau lost his balance and fell.
Like I said, I get the sentiment Quinn expressed, but it's a leap in logic I'm not willing to accept to suggest bringing a club into the payback equation is in any way justified. Not in the bad old days. Not now.
-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.