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.

  • Ender

    Iginla deserved the two minutes; nothing more. People are upset because it resulted in arguably our best player getting a concussion, but the fact is that Iginla's stick didn't touch Souray's skate any harder than happens 50 other times in every game.

    Souray was going into the corner like a bat out of hell and even if Iggy isn't within a hundred miles, it would have taken a lot of skill for Souray to have stayed upright without hammering into the boards. Souray knew he was going to get hit. Iggy committed to the hit. As Iggy came into the corner, the blade of his stick touched Souray's skate; not hard, but on a skate that was under incredible pressure on a relatively weak surface it was enough to disrupt Souray's power-turn. At that speed, the rest was disaster.

    The bottom line is this; Iginla did not chop at Souray's skate; in fact, he didn't even realize his stick was going to touch Souray's skate. After Souray lost the edge, Iginla did everything humanly possible to avoid hitting Souray. The hit was not dirty or, after Souray slipped, even intentional. Iginla is a classy guy. That his stick touched Souray's skate makes this a two-minute minor, but if you're going to be absolutely fair and call that every time it happens, not just when someone falls down, your calling this penalty 50 times per game at least.

    • Travis Dakin

      You are right. As much as it pains me to see Big Sexy laid out…. And you know it's hurting him bad if he doesn't get up right away, the fact of the matter is that it was a freak play. Iginla is a stand-up player and you know it really bothered him that it happened.

      • Travis Dakin

        We have too many biased homers on this site. It really sucked that it happened but it was just a freak play. In this game, with the speed and size of these guys these things will happen.

        • Part of the problem here is fans are still digesting a loss that looked like a win until the final 1.5 seconds of regulation.

          The other thing, of course, is that Moreau went stumbling in like he had skate guards on and got rag-dolled — even though Iginla held up on him when he went down – and didn't get the job done.

          • Librarian Mike

            The other thing, of course, is that Moreau went stumbling in like he had skate guards on and got rag-dolled — even though Iginla held up on him when he went down – and didn't get the job done.

            Not to make too much of this, but all this talk reminds me the fateful 'Bertuzzi Night' when Matt Cooke fought Steve Moore. The Canucks were all jacked up about 'getting' Moore, but Cooke got his butt kicked. We all know what happened later that game.

            Anyway, the point is that we shouldn't get all caught up in revenge. Frankly, the Oilers should be expending their energy on finding ways to win instead of ways to lose.

    • Alon

      What hit did you see? In the race for the puck Iginla clearly ignored the puck placed his stick in Sourays skates and pushed. It makes no difference if Iginla pushed as hard as he could or gave the skates a light tap, he took out Sourays edge and plowed him into the boards.

      Did he mean to hurt Souray? Most likely he didn't but you don't have to swing like your Jason Vorhees at a guy for it to be a dirty hit.

      Maybe you should watch it again:
      hxxp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84BZGKuteXU
      The replay is around the one minute mark

      It looks entirely like Iginla was trying to push his skates out to me.

      • Ender

        Alon wrote:

        What hit did you see? In the race for the puck Iginla clearly ignored the puck placed his stick in Sourays skates and pushed.

        Not a chance. I've watch that clip almost a hundred times today. From way back and from behind it looks bad, but the real tale comes from the close-up corner camera. On your clip, it's at the 1:06 mark; Iginla's eyes are clearly focussed up above the boards well before and until the time his stick contacts Souray's skate. He had no idea that was going to happen. A two-minute tripping? Absolutely. Deliberate and/or dirty? No way.

        • Milli

          Dude, are you in love with Iggy? The hit was cheap, careless, you must be in full control of your stick. He plays tough, he plays dirty, no friggin question. Why do you insist on defending a sucks against all comments? Isn't that rosscreeks job?

  • Quinn is just trying to set the tone for a team that gets their ass handed to them on a regular basis. This soft line-up has to learn to be the aggressors for a change and play with a bit of an edge. No one is going to run our top guys if they think someone is going to go Bertuzzi on them. Not that I think anyone should, just that other teams need to be looking over their shoulders for a change.

    • Librarian Mike

      I agree with you Bruno…Quinn is trying to plant a seed into other teams' skulls (and our team's skulls) that the Oilers are not wussies and we are going to play tough and with grittiness and that take us seriously for once. I bet that every player on every team looks at our team and thinks-"hey this team is weak and we should bully them because we can"(or something similar)….we have been on the butt end of alot of losses and a laughing stock in the analyses of many analysts, commentators, radio show hosts, news paperwriters, and opposing teams' fans. If something is not said or done then no action can take place. Something needed to be said and a message needed to be sent. We may not be the most "politically popular" team on the planet but we will show that we can compete and will work hard for it.

  • Sorry Robin, I agree with most everything you write, however, I tend to agree with Stauffer when he says that this was an irresponsible play on Iginla's part and that it demanded immediate retribution. I applaud Moreau for jumping in later in the period and attempting to stand up for his teammate, however it did prove to be ineffective. I don't know what the end solution should be, but the Oil need to send a message that these types of plays, no matter by who, won't be tolerated. If Iginla knew that Big Mac was going to come out next shift and beat him (or another Flame) into the next time zone, do you think he would have been so careless with his stick? Iginla is a great player and I hope he wears the "C" for Team Canada in Feburary, but regardless…last night he was a Calgary Flame and made a careless – albeit unintentional – play. For that, there should have been a price paid.

  • Ninjafoot

    I am willing to give Iggy the benefit of the doubt on the play. The hit looked accidental from my perspective, so I am not too sure anything other than a quick dust-up was necessary.

    Having said that, I am not a big fan of the NHL stepping in with the $10,000 smack to the melon for Quinn. Was what he said so bad that they could not have just given him the public reprimand, and still gotten their point across?

  • Chris.

    I guess I'm a "fist-pumping mouth-breather"…

    Iginla injured one of our best players in a stupid and irresponsible play: and paid no price save for a two minute minor. Quinn's comments were not exactly PC… but it's true that something has been lost over time. Could you imagine what would have happened to Iginla if it was the 80's and Kevin McClelland or Dave Brown had been on the ice? Do you think Iginla would be so cavalier with his stick if facing the music meant a little more than just being asked to accept an invitation for some fisticuffs with a player in his own weight class?

  • Librarian Mike

    It's too bad Souray got hurt, but give it another 10 games and it'll be the other team's coach b!tching about something an Oiler did. It's just gamesmanship.

    For sure, Quinn went too far by saying he should get a stick in the head. Maybe he did it to see if it gets the boys mad and fired up. If so, it's money well spent.

  • Ender

    I watched the hit, several times, in slow motion and regular speed. I hate Calgary as much as any other Oiler fan, but that hit is not Iggy's fault. Souray lost an edge and Iggy had already committed to the hit. Iggy tried to bail and deliberately went as high as he could into the boards (with his own face as a consequence) in an effort to keep his legs from slamming into Souray any harder than he could possibly help. If you watch the hit again, I challenge anyone to tell me what Iginla could have done differently once Souray slipped.

    I don't like the fact that Iggy wears a flaming C, but I'd welcome him as an Oiler faster than PDP can scarf back a donair. Let's not throw mud just because we had a bad day.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    a) Iginla is responsible for his stick just like someone driving is responsible for their car. he's obligated to this as he is in a relationship with other players in this league – regardless of phony "Battles" and rivalries. if a high stick that draws blood is a 4-minute penalty, why is a negligent stick that almost kills someone into the boards a two minute trip? this league is a joke with its value judgments and worries more about War Stories from an old man than the actual players on the ice.

    b) Quinn is a motivational figurehead to the Oilers, and nothing much more. he took the job blindly, didnt know anything about the players he was going to be coaching (just listen to any off-season interview) and then comes out and makes comments about them, not as a "caring" coach, but as some hired analyst/mercenary. people like it cause it sounds macho and blunt, but it really begs the question what sort of binding tie this guy has to any of these players. id expect him to "coach" MAYBE two seasons and then this is getting handed over to Renney. it seems like a total motivational gimmick and it seems like its going to be a failure since he is seeing, rather early, that the players he blindly jumped into a season with – are what MacTavish was dealing with over the past two seasons.

    c) get ready for a long, sustained climb out of mediocrity. start whining…….. now!

  • The Fish

    That's such bullsh*t about Iginla not meaning to do it. If he didn't mean to doit, he would have had his stick elsewhere. I suggest everyone stop kissing Iginla's a$$. He doesn't give two sh8ts about about me, you or you, Robin and will never be your friend.

    • Hemmercules

      Nice!!!I'm with you on this one. Iggy said he didn't mean to have his stick in there, yet on the replay he spears it right into Sourays skates at the last second. Dirty play IMO.

    • Banger

      Yep cause often when you see someone run someone else through the boards they end up going head first into them. Iginla could have very well been just as hurt as Souray on that play.

      And second who is kissing iginla's a$$? Saying he isnt a cheap player and one of the most respected players in the league is kissing his a$$? It was a dangerous play. Its easy to us to say he coulda stopped at that point and not had his stick in there. But if you havent noticed stuff happens on the ice so fast these days. Players are faster and stronger and those types of plays are going to happen. If its Hemsky on Regehr on the same play who is upset about it?

  • Gerald R. Ford

    I don't think he was trying to justify (or encourage) the swinging of a stick at someone's melon, even implicitly. What I got from his statement was more of a comparison of players' attitudes from different eras. More along the lines of: "Iginla would have gotten taken care of back in the day, now he gets a harsh talking to." I think there's a subtle difference there, but it does exist. Quinn could have chosen his words better, and I understand why the league (from a purely legal standpoint) HAD to fine him, but I don't think his comments were as neanderthal in nature as they appear to be, prima facie.

    I do think that it's sort of messed up that the league fines Hordichuk $2,500 for ACTUALLY hurting someone, and they fine Quinn $10,000 for musing about the league's violent past. But…

    • Gerald R. Ford

      I have to agree with the past president. Quinn was just commenting on the fact that those kind of things happened back in the NHL 40 or 50 years ago. He didn't say one of the Oilers should have gone out and cracked Iginla in the head with a stick, all Quinn did was state a matter of fact.

      That's my interpretation of the comments and I'm not sure the fine from the NHL is warranted.

  • If that was any other player that did that it would be a 3 game suspension. Imagine if someone like Stone did that to Phaneuf? Stone would have got an major and a 3 game suspension for that hit, but since its Iginla one of the leagues so called "stars" then there will be no further retribution. It's obvious what kind of corruption is in the league office and it's a shame that nothing can be done about it.

  • Quinn was just expressing what some of us fans felt. As late as the early 80's that would have been a bench clearing brawl. Iggy tripped Souray and rode him into the boards. Quinn is gonna be pissed. I applaud the emotion. Nice to see a team work hard for a change and show some fire that hasnt been seen around here for a few seasons. Besides Quinn can afford the 10 Large.

    • I'm a Scientist!

      Ha ha ha ha…Oh man, could you imagine?

      At least this toughens our image after our photoshoot showing the boys having a gay ol' time in the dressing room…

      I am already tired of hearing about this incident though… how about the fact that Calgary scored with 1.5 seconds left… did you see THAT?