Pat Quinn’s media conferences are as enjoyable as MacT’s and that my friends is saying something. MacTavish has a rapier wit which allows him to respond in time to the question at hand (and often with hilarious results). Quinn is more tempered, measured, plodding and perhaps more prepared but no less pleasing because his humor is warm and absent (for the most part) the usual sports cliches.
I believe we’ve discovered our first Quinn “anomaly” and it has to do with a blind spot and young Sam Gagner. The disconnect between the two apparently has to do with dipsy-doodling and not using linemates, which based on two plus years of viewing doesn’t jive with fact. Gagner is a sublime passer (anyone remember the BH saucer tape to tape in the TBay game?) and although he’s had his share of coverage errors in the last 25 months it’s also true that he’s improved a lot from the starting point.
In a PC yesterday, Quinn stated “we’ve got some guys who are 19 or 20 years old who have played by themselves for a long time, they get 30 or 40 points and they’re thinking that’s pretty good. It’s not good. It’s not good enough.”
That must be a comment on Gagner and as with the line early in summer regarding a stickhandling center (we felt it was in regard to Hemsky but it may actually have been a Gagner comment) this is a comment made after a very small sample size. I think anyone who has seen the Oilers play over the last two seasons can agree there’s a lot of room for improvement from Mr. Gagner, but it’s also true there’s a tremendous amount of talent, try and acumen in this young man.
For his part Gagner once again says the right things and I expect he’ll play well enough to move up the depth chart this season and take a step forward again. Earlier in the pre-season, Quinn said “they want to see the development continue, they being management. The new kids have to eventually find some place where there is that improvement, or probably the selection process was wrong. We’re in that spot there.”
The nature of modern sports business is that Sam Gagner is a more valuable investment for the Oilers than Pat Quinn, and if 89′s development stalls this winter there is no doubt who will pay for it.