Friday, March 23, 2007
Reporting in from the Sabres morning skate
So it's the Sabres and the Leafs tonight, and just in time to put a jump in the stands. The crowds were dead on that last homestand, and getting arrogant Leafsfan into the building might be just the tonic we need to get Buffalo fans into playoff mode.
The team had a great morning skate, both Connolly and Paille were on the ice, with Paille wearing the red "no contact jersey". Lindy Ruff said that the next step was to get Connolly on the ice for back to back practices. At this point the concussion really isn't the issue - it's recovering from his recent injury and getting into top shape.
For Toronto, it is clearly desperation time - last night the worst possible outcome of all games happened to them, with Montreal, New York Islanders, Carolina and Tampa Bay all getting wins. Come this morning they are back in 11th place. Time is running out and they are looking up at a lot of teams. "I know the feeling" said Lindy. "When I was an assistant in Florida we twice missed the playoffs by one point and then you think of that one bad bounce or that one poor night and how it cost you."
On the way out the door I ran into Leafs forward Michael Peca (I do service at the Peca residence in my full time business so that's how I know him). A big grin and "Hi Andrew!" from Michael, and he was walking normally and seemingly no ill effects from his broken leg. "Ready to be out there in time for the playoffs?" I asked. "Knock on wood" was the reply.
One more odd story - I think Leafs coach Paul Maurice is losing it. He was wearing a t-shirt and sweats during the Sabres ice time, popped out to sit in the stands for a bit, then I spotted him just going up and down the hall, peering into rooms and broom closets and stuff. It didn't seem like he was looking for anything in particular, just exploring.
Faceoff at 8:05PM. I am covering tonight. Can't wait!