Pat Quinn: the bad old days

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.

Quinn said:

"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?"

 Pardon?  

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.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      It wasn't a dirty play – It was a stupid play. Iginla clearly didn't use his head, which is surprising for a relatively bright guy. I don't think you can suspend for that unless it becomes a pattern of behavious, but at the same time it would be nice for the league to step up and take a vocal stance that it was a stupid play because of how potentially dangerous it was. The league should pretend it's considering suspension simply to make players in the future think about where their sticks are when they chase a player into the endboards.

      As an aside, for such a big defensive core, why are the flames players the biggest bunch of poser cowards in the league? I've never in my life seen so many guys play "big" against little guys and refuse to back it up (Iginla excepted) against guys who're willing to tangle. If I was a Flames fan I would be embarassed by the way Phaneuf the poof, Regehr and sadly even Glencross present themselves on the ice.

      And don't tell me it's cause they aren't going to risk hurting themselves against goons. Much better players than them are willing to fight in this league. The flames are spineless.

        • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

          I know. It stings – I wish the Oil had been smart enough to throw some $$ his way during Operation Hossa, but Stauffer had it right when he said that Glencross is fast becoming the toughest guy in the league from behind a linesman.

          • Smiley

            Harsh… Then again, the oilers stuck it out for a long time with Mush (Marchment) back in the bad old days, and he didn't exactly have a rep for being the most chivalrous player out there…

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            That's true. Mush was a dirty player that didn't like to be accountable.

            That guy would throw knees on a regular basis. He was nice to have on the team, but I like to see that type of player get punched in the mouth once in a while.

          • Jason Gregor

            Mush fought a lot of the heavyweights. He was very accountable. He played on the edge and when he crossed it he would fight. He never fought after every hit, and he didn't need to, but go look at his fight resume, he fought the Laraques and Domis.

          • Librarian Mike

            I think the reason why people think Marchment was a dodger is that he always seemed to be really pragmatic when talking about his style of play. Guys like C. Lemieux would cop the "I'm just doing what it takes to win" line, whereas Mush was like, "Well, he had his head down so whatever". I used to love that guy when he played here.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      I was just thinking about how I like the O'Sully/Gagner/Stone line. They're going to be difficult to play against if Gagner keeps playing with passion.

  • Paq Twinn

    @oilkings n pretty things I have to agree that the last loss is on Hemmer's shoulders. There's a time to be cute, and protecting a lead in the last minute is not the time to get cute. Gain center take a few strides(if possible) and get that f-ing puck DEEP! Don't try and skate through 6(extra attacker) opposing players. When is this guy going to learn?