Ice Time Isn't Everything
by John McCauley
November 15, 2005
(TORONTO) -- Ice time is always a hot topic in the centre of the hockey's universe and this year is no different.
The Pat Quinn era is full of little ice time controversies. Remember Jonas Hoglund and Dmitri Kristich? His bench tendancies always have been to roll four lines no matter how loud Leafs Nation screams and you can't argue with his regular season results in doing so.
Jason Allison, who played with as much jump as he has this season during Tuesday night's 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers, mentioned earlier this week his desire to play more. Not a big surprise coming from a player used to being a No. 1 centre on every team he's ever been a regular on.
Pat Quinn quickly pointed out in his media chats that on his squads no one is bigger than the team and that minutes isn't a stat that a player should be interested in. Mats Sundin has grown accustom to being utilized a certain way despite being the team's best player for over a decade.
When things aren't going well -- and that has to be taken in context considering Allison has 16 points on the season -- players press and want to be on the ice so that they can turn things around. Quinn would rather see players go back to basics, play sound defensively and let that effort create chances at the other end.
If his effort was any indication Allison has decided to try it the coaches way. He earned 15:34 of work and registered three shots in Toronto's second straight win. That was good enough to be fifth highest among forwards during the victory. Alexander Steen led the way with 19:07 followed by Mats Sundin with 18:49. Mats Stajan, Tie Domi and Kyle Wellwood pulled up the rear with under 10 minutes each.
Regardless of who got what the results were positive. The Leafs five-on-five play was drastically better and Quinn was happy with the effort.
"Maybe we're starting to piece some things together. You play a good team and you do pretty well so maybe this is a good step for us," said Quinn.
With "piece" being the key word each Maple Leaf will have to decide how they fit into the Quinn system going forward.
All photos by Graig Abel Photography