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Now that it's back to business in the National Hockey League, the hard part begins for Pat Quinn, Curtis Joseph and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The hard part is the question of how Joseph's Olympic experience will affect his relationship with Quinn, the head coach and general manager, and how it will affect Joseph's future with the team.

Joseph has declined to comment on his personal situation regarding the Canadian Olympic team ever since Martin Brodeur was promoted to the No. 1 goaltender over him, beginning with the second game of the Salt Lake tournament.

But those close to Joseph say he was bitterly disappointed not to get another start after Canada's opening 5-2 loss to Sweden. Quinn had said one of his plans was to give Joseph two starts in the preliminary round, but that went out the window when Joseph struggled against Sweden.

Brodeur started against Germany, as planned, and then started the final game of the round robin against the Czech Republic. Brodeur played so well in the Czech game that he became the obvious choice as the starter the rest of the way.

However, sources close to Joseph say he was promised the Czech start and was extremely unhappy that he didn't get it. Joseph is a proud man and fierce competitor and wanted that start to prove he could be the top goaltender.

Since Joseph is not one to forget a slight, many believe this could result in his departure from the Leafs when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. One thing Joseph could do is demand a trade before the NHL trade deadline in March.

Among the teams that might be looking for a goaltender are the Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues.

Quinn said Brodeur became the No. 1 goalie for a variety of reasons and implied he was hoping a gold medal would ease Joseph's disappointment.

"[Joseph]is happy today," Quinn said. "He might have been happier if he was the guy who was in net, but he wasn't.

"Yet he was still part of this gold medal, a big part."

The problem for Joseph is he got caught in the Canadian team's early struggles and when things started getting better, Quinn was reluctant to tinker with success.

"That's part superstition," Quinn said. "All kinds of things come to play. It seems as we were getting better I just didn't want to make a change.

"That was hard because, heck, I love him. I think he's a great young guy. He was such a pro, he practised hard and supported Marty, supported his teammates."

Aside from Quinn, the Olympics were not a joyful experience for the Maple Leafs. Captain Mats Sundin was considered the best player in the tournament in the early going, but that all collapsed into a storm of fury when Sweden was upset by Belarus in the quarter-finals.

Defencemen Aki Berg and Jyrki Lumme played for Finland, which was knocked off by Canada in the quarter-finals. Centre Robert Reichel was on the Czech team, which was eliminated by the Russians, and defenceman Dmitry Yushkevich did not even get to play for Russia when a blood clot was discovered in his leg just before the Olympics.

The Leafs will get back to action tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes and then Joseph will face Brodeur, his Olympic teammate, on Friday when the Leafs travel to New Jersey to play the Devils.