Pat Quinn Coming to the NHL's Ottawa Senators?

Dino MoriAnalyst IJanuary 6, 2009

Could the man who guided Team Canada Juniors to a gold medal remain in the nation's capital?

It may be a stretch, but don't be surprised if the venerable Pat Quinn returns to the NHL with the Ottawa Senators, after leading Team Canada to the IIHF Under 20 World Championships last night with a 5-1 gold-clinching victory over Team Sweden.

Team Canada went a perfect 6-0 in the tournament under Quinn to capture its fifth straight gold medal. The event took place primarily at ScotiaBank Place in Ottawa, home of the NHL Senators.

On hand for all of Team Canada's games was Eugene Melnyk, the Senators' owner.

It's no secret that Melnyk has been frustrated by his club's underachieving ways.  

His present coach, Craig Hartsburg, appears to be on thin ice. Ottawa is mired in 12th place in the Eastern Conference standings, six points behind their rivals Toronto, and 11 points behind the eighth and final playoff spot.

Why not bring in a guy like Quinn to inject some life into a sad sack of Senators? 

The 65-year-old Hamilton native has a professional hockey resume a mile long, including 19 years as an NHL head coach as well as nine seasons as a player.

Quinn has twice been awarded the Jack Adams' Trophy for coach of the year, back in 1980 and 1992.

In 1980, he led his Philadelphia Flyers to an amazing 35-game undefeated streak, before losing in the Stanley Cup finals to the New York Islanders that year. 

In 1992, Quinn guided the Vancouver Canucks to a division title to capture his second coach of the year honor.

With Quinn still at the helm two years later, the Canucks lost a dramatic seven-game final series to the New York Rangers back in 1994.  You may remember—it was the Rangers' first title in 54 years.

Maple Leaf fans had the pleasure of Quinn behind the bench from 1998-2006. 

Even an irregular heartbeat during the 2002 playoffs against Carolina didn't deter the sometimes crusty "Big Irishman."  He was instrumental in bringing this team back to respectability, each time qualifying them for the postseason during his tenure here.

Not only has Quinn been successful coaching in the NHL but internationally as well.

In 2002, Quinn coached Team Canada to a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  Not since 1952 has a Canadian team been able to capture Olympic gold.

In 2004, he was behind the bench as Canada won the World Cup of Hockey, beating Finland 3-2 in the finals.

And, prior to last night's victory in Ottawa, Quinn was the winning coach at the IIHF World Under-18 Championships, defeating Russia, 8-0, in finals last April.

To say Quinn has been successful as a coach, where ever he has gone, would be an understatement. He is a winner, and someone Mr. Melnyk should think long and hard about bringing in either in a coaching or front office capacity.