Remembering a Fine Whine
To understand how times and tempers have changed in the post-Pat Quinn era, just look at the way in which the club has handled two disciplinary rulings handed down by the NHL in recent days.
Quinn, it’s fair to say, was not only a classic and relentless referee-baiter, he was often at odds with league officials for the manner in which players were or were not suspended.
Most of it, of course, was simply partisan stuff. Geez, you could always get him to say that he believed Marian Hossa intentionally stuck his stick in Bryan Berard’s eye.
But in regards to the Dany Heatley non-suspension and the Pavel Kubina ban that knocks the big rearguard out of the Leaf opener Wednesday night, there has been only silence or humble words from head coach Paul Maurice and GM John Ferguson.
Oddly enough, they sure had something to complain about.
Heatley, you may recall, took a wild, woodchopper-like swing at the puck and connected with Leaf defenceman Brendan Bell’s foot and ankle, eliminating Bell from the competition for a Leaf roster position.
By the time all is said and done, Bell will have missed two weeks or more.
Then, on Sunday night, Kubina foolishly crosschecked smallish Detroit forward Jiri Hudler in the chest, probably catching the lower part of his jaw. It was a stupid, needless move by Kubina, since the whistle was long gone and Hudler was hardly threatening him in any way.
Hudler wasn’t hurt and played on the subsequent power play, with Kubina given a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Subsquently, he received the one-game suspension from league sheriff Colin Campbell.
So Heatley hacks and injures, and walks and will be in the Ottawa lineup for the Toronto home opener.
Kubina crosschecks and doesn’t injure, and gets one game.
Making it worse for the Leafs is that Bell can’t be considered as a possible substitution for Kubina since he’s still working his way back from the foot injury.
The piece de resistance, of course, would be if Heatley has his way with the Leafs Wednesday night, something he’s certainly done before.
Pat Quinn, you have to believe, would have had something to say about all of this.