Pat Quinn: Lockout has order out of whack

TORONTO -- Pat Quinn has seen a lot of hockey come and go since he first joined the NHL as a player in the 1968-69 season and on through decades of coaching and managing at the NHL level.

And the current co-chair of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee, one of the most eloquent men in the game, doesn’t like the current lockout one bit.

“We’re out of work right now and it’s a shame. We should be playing,” Quinn said Monday in advance of the ceremony that will honor the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012 with Adam Oates, Pavel Bure, Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin.

Quinn, who coached Sundin in Toronto, Bure when the Russian first broke into the NHL in Vancouver and Sakic at the 2002 Olympics, noted that the Air Canada Centre was sold out for an alumni game Sunday, an illustration of how badly fans are starved for the game.

“Yes, we want it back," Quinn said. "A lot of us just don’t understand, we’re not in on it obviously, so we don’t understand why it’s not back, but we’ll have to wait for the bosses to make up their mind.”

During the last lockout, Quinn was coaching in Toronto, and he admitted to feeling discouraged with the current work stoppage.

“It’s always discouraging if we’re not following what we believe should be the order of things in our country. The order of things means 'Hockey Night in Canada.' We have all of our children across this country playing this game and a lot of that has to do with their heroes that are not there,” Quinn said.

“The order’s out of whack, and when it’s out of whack, who likes it? I know I don’t.”

While the lockout may not impact a player’s ability to get into the Hall of Fame, Quinn noted that there are many people whose careers will be significantly altered by the labor woes.

“I know at the end of the day, it’s not always statistics, because there are other important factors that go into considering Hall of Fame caliber people. But you’re right, people lose their jobs, coaches will lose their jobs, some players that played the final year a year ago won’t get back in,” Quinn said.

“It’s not a nice situation. If you think it’d be really good if I had a 12-year career, all of a sudden, if you played in the last 10, 12 years, it’s a 10-year career. Two years is a lot of time in a short career like that.”