Inside the Locker Room -- Season Finale Part 4
Thursday, 05.6.2004 / 4:29 PM ET / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
|The Leafs season has come to a close so see what the players were saying as they closed up shop for another year.|
(On the season...) We did not accomplish what we set out to, what we were capable of, at the same time we had a franchise record 103 points, we were successful in eliminating Ottawa. We understand the expectations are justified we had a team capable of getting it all done, we failed to do so, we need to improve on that. Make no mistake we had a team capable of winning the Cup, there's no question, not just competing for it, we had a real diverse group of players and capabilites, a number of acquisitions would not fit that category, but these players that were brought in, a lot of them had proven that they were capable winners in this league over time, and that age didn't beat us. We didn't accomplish what we set out to do, there will be one team that gets to say they did what they set out to do. (On Pat Quinn's Future...) Pat will be back, he's our coach, and his record speaks for itself, this club is over the past 6, 7 years over the time he's been coaching are third in the league in playoff rounds won, he has well over 600 career coaching victories, franchise record 103 points this season, knocked out Ottawa, failed to advance past Philadelphia but all-in-all a strong season for us. We've got a good group in place, and we plan on moving forward with the group we have. Pat has a deal through this season, and hopefully beyond it. (On the upcoming Summer...) It will be a busy Summer, absolutely, but I'm not sure that's atypical of any other years, there are deadlines to be met, deals to be made, decisions to be done, preparing for the draft, qualifying offers.
Going back to the time I was offered the opportunity to come here was something at first I thought I wasn't interested in and then found out that I was and was happy I made the decision to come here. The energy of this city, the demands on the people that play here, the expecations that have been wanting because the expectation is one thing only and that is to win the cup and all of these things drive me on to try to be part of a group that brings that only goal to realism could be a time, whether it is you don't want to take the critcism you feel frustrated that might not happen and I'm not there yet and I hope it doesn't come for a while. I had a dream and you start with a vision and we started with one again this year and you set your plan up and that vision will be to win the cup.(How will the coaches and players be better for next year...) What I think we have to do is on the mental side. First of all you have to have the physical skills, your plan which we work hard at, you develop your system and philosophy for the players and I know the players like our philosophy that we have here. When you get to a point, there is a place where you are really successful and this is a successful organization. When there's only one prize and everybody wants that prize and you don't get there than where's the step that needs to be made and I think our step like all teams that have been successful before they ever got over that hump of winning one are mental and we are in that spot. I thought we might have been a little closer two years ago that when that pressure comes on and that overwhelming desire to want good things to happen takes over that you start to change your game on your own like we did in Game 5. Instead of sticking with it like we did in Game 4 we started to go to some other plan and it was an individual plan but that's when you have to buckle down to your system and not make some big glorious thing happen. In Game 6 we made less mistakes than they did and we didn't win and that's the other part that you have no control over. They had two chances in overtime and they scored the goal. We were probably better in four of six games. Being better and still losing is the hard pill to take. (More youth in the lineup...) I'm not opposed to playing young guys. Proof is Matt (Stajan). It could've been easy to send him down this year but we thought we would've been better off with him here if we kept him around. We have some good young guys here.Our defence is still relatively young, four of them are getting into there most productive time and should continue to get better. The teams that are young and cheap have had not much success in a long time and that's not the way we want to go here and I'm not managing here anymore but I know we'll be active in trying to put the best roster they can whether it's young or old, youth should be coming in because if were developing kids than we want them to keep coming because they will lift the veteran guys. (Keeping the core together...) They certainly have been leaders for us. As coach I like the contributions they've made. This group is as good a group I've had. You'd like to have guys back as much as possible but you have to understand that two people have to come to agreement and it's John's (Ferguson) job to ultimately make the decision on the rosters. (Mats...) He should take a lot of pride and satisfaction in the way he has performed. He has the same desire and drive that all the guys do but maybe more so because he's been here longer and he's on a team that can get there so that maybe frustrating to him but if he gives himself a good an anlysis of himself to what he's done for this organization and how's played, how's he grown as a player and as a lead than he should be a person who takes great satisfaction. Yes he'll have a knot in his stomach about not winning the Stanley Cup as we all have and that will be a big knott. But a big solid assesment of Mats Sundin should be a good one. " news