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Blue and White battle in Hamilton

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by John McCauley


HAMILTON - This time of year almost everything means more than the score.

With September comes doing the little things right and hustling after ever puck because it could be the difference between riding the bus in St. John's or jet-setting in the NHL.

The annual Blue and White game, held Tuesday night at Copps Coliseum in front of approximately 8,000 fans, was the latest avenue for players to separate themselves within the Leafs pack. For the most part it was a hard-fought affair with the players learning to adjust to a new set of rules.

Aaron Gavey is tied with Brad Boyes for the training camp points lead.
Graig Abel Photography
NHL referees Terry Gregson and Kevin Pollack officiated the proceedings. The players were shown a video presentation prior to the game to try and clarify what is and what isn't going to be a penalty this season, plus got an introduction to the hurry-up faceoff rule.

"We talked about the process that we're going to try and go through and the responsibility is not just the officials, but all of us," Quinn said.

In addition to the video session, the referees pointed out to the players in the first period what they would be calling in the second and third frames. A total of 28 minutes worth of minor penalties and a few player-less faceoffs was the result.

"It's going to be confusing, but once the first few exhibition games are over everything will work itself out," Darcy Tucker said.

THE SKINNY

For those people who need their stats here goes: Team Blue beat Team White 4-3. Josh Holden, Brad Boyes, Aaron Gavey and Doug Doull scored for the victors. White Team scorers were Bob Wren, Nathan Barrett and Allan Rourke.

The Leafs new goaltending tandem of Ed Belfour and Trevor Kidd started the festivities looking nervous, both giving up early goals, before settling down during their 20 minutes of work.

Sebastien Centomo secured himself a 1/3 of a shutout during the second while J.F. Racine gave up three markers. Todd Ford allowed two tallies in the third period against a shutout put up by Jamie Hodson.

"I thought our goaltending was the best part of the evening," Quinn said.

Captain Mats Sundin centered the two players hoping to squeak onto the Leafs opening day roster. Gavey and Paul Healey flanked the superstar for much of the game and generated a few chances. Gavey is tied for the training camp scoring lead with four goals and three assists, while Healey, who contributed nicely late last season, has just one marker to show for his efforts.

"His (Gavey's) games (in the NHL) really sneak up on you when you look at them, he hasn't really distinguished himself yet but maybe this is the place for him to do it," Quinn said.

INJURIES

Alyn McCauley strained his hip flexor and left the game as a precautionary measure. He may rest for a couple days just not to aggravate it, though the trainers aren't worried ... Defence prospect David Turon suffered a suspected broken clavicle after he fell awkwardly into the boards battling for the puck with Healey ... Robert Reichel reportedly wasn't in the lineup because of a medical test, which was said to be minor.

CUTS

The Leafs are expected to trim their numbers by sending most of their junior eligible players to their prospective camps, save a couple. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of eight players will be cut.

"Probably one or two we want to take a longer look at but the others we probably want to get them going," Quinn said.

WHO WASN'T INVOLVED?

Notable players not included were: Tomas Kaberle, Robert Reichel, Aki Berg, Jyrki Lumme, Karel Pilar, Mikael Tellqvist.

Others hoping to make a splash but not in the lineup: Tyson Marsh, Mike Minard, Nicolas Corbeil, Carsen Germyn, Rob Palahnuk, Morgan Warren, Chris Barr, Dmitry Yakushin, Jonathon Gagnon, Dominic D'Amour, Vaclav Zavoral, Craig Mills.
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