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Pat Quinn, 1943-2014

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Pat Quinn passed away this morning at the age of 71.

Awul news out of BC this morning as Pat Quinn, long-time coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, passed away this morning. He was 71 years old.

James Mirtle had a tweet this morning that underlined just how incredible Quinn's tenure as an NHL coach was; 5th all-time in wins, with 684. Two Jack Adams awards, one of only four people to win the award with two different teams. Quinn took the Vancouver Canucks to within a game of winning the franchise's first ever Stanley Cup in 1994 when they lost in seven games to the New York Rangers.

For Leaf fans, Quinn is the man responsible for the Leafs renaissance in the early 2000s, leading the team to an out-of-nowhere Conference Finals appearance in 1999, and establishing the Leafs as a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference leading up the lockout. In six seasons between 1999 and 2004, the Leafs won eight playoff series and advanced to the Conference Finals on two separate occasions.

With all due respect to Pat Burns and the vaunted Leafs of the 93/94 seasons, when I think of the Maple Leafs being successful, my mind instantly recalls Pat Quinn and his run and gun, beat the hell out of you teams of the early 2000s. Quinn rolled four lines and every single line would alternately try and score from everywhere and beat the shit out of you in the interim. They were unlikable, arrogant and completely incapable of winning a Stanley Cup. I loved every minute of them.

Much of the management of this site is in their late 20s/early 30s, and are of a vintage where the Burns era Leafs are the team that first hooked us, but it was the Quinn-era Leafs that cemented our fandom. Since Pat left, every coach has failed to live up to the standard Quinn set and been attempting a cheap imitation of the style Quinn helped pioneer. Quinn was ahead of his time; if you dropped the 2000 or 2002 Leafs into 2007, without the horrific obstruction rules of their day, I think they win the Cup.

Pat Quinn will be missed dearly.