Pat Quinn has been behind the bench for Team Canada before, including the 2006 Olympics. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Coaches, like players, don’t necessarily excel in every aspect of their job.
Just as some great shooters can’t skate a lick, not every bench boss is equally adept in the technical and motivational components of their profession.
Pat Quinn has never been known as an X’s and O’s guy and for that reason some will question whether he is the right man to lead Team Canada at the 2009 World Junior Championship.
While I see the logic in having a sharp tactician stand behind a bunch of teenagers who are still very much learning the game, Quinn’s tendency to push forward and go for broke will play right into the natural eagerness of a youthful team. As long as he keeps the reins loosely applied, Team Canada will be fine.
Not to mention fun.
The aspect I really like about Quinn as coach of this club is his clout.
Have you ever met a 19-year-old who’s really good at something? Often, they don’t exactly epitomize humility.
But I imagine Quinn, given the size of his resume and his own intimidating proportions, will have no problem keeping egos in check simply by placing one of his big mitts on the shoulder of a player whose head is getting a little too large and firmly saying, “young man, don’t get ahead of yourself.”
With the ’09 WJC being held in Ottawa, the spotlight will be intense as Canada guns for a fifth straight title. The fact Quinn coached in the frying pan that is Toronto means he’ll be unfazed by any attention thrown his way. In fact, his large presence is likely to keep a little heat off a team that, don’t forget, will be comprised mainly of players who’ve never been through a hockey experience this intense.
Quinn’s approach has always been to leave letters to the alphabet. If you’re a fan of Team Canada, just sit back and enjoy watching him turn this team loose.
The 180-degree summer
It’s been one heck of an off-season for the Chicago Blackhawks promotions department.
In the wake of big-name free agents coming aboard and the announcement of an outdoor game at Wrigley Field, the Hawks continue to push their product with events such as Tuesday’s Chicago Blackhawks night at Wrigley and a training camp festival (including live music and a street hockey tourney) set for Sept. 20. Not to mention plans to keep honoring the team’s past with Steve Larmer Heritage Night Dec. 3.
The Cubs may be a World Series favorite right now, but given the good vibes around the hockey team, it’s going to be real hard not to root, root, root for the Hawks this season.
Ryan Dixon is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog normally appears Wednesdays and his column, Top Shelf, appears every other Friday.
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