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Experience In Patience

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

It’s been a waiting game for Leafs forward David Booth.

First came a buyout from the last year of his previous contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

Upon signing with the Maple Leafs during the offseason, he was relishing an opportunity to prove himself. But then, as training camp was moving along, Booth suffered some bad luck, blocking a shot off his foot.

The initial prognosis was that he would be out for four weeks. That was back on Sept. 29. We’re now into late November and it looks like Booth will finally get to make his debut this week.

Given the setbacks he has suffered, one wouldn’t fault him for being a little frustrated. But his experience with adversity prepared him well.

“I've been through this (long term injury) before and you have to work hard every day. That's how you get through it,” said Booth, who rejoined the Leafs after a two-game conditioning stint with the Marlies. “That's how you deal with struggles, and if you work hard all the time, you are only going to become a better player.”

When Booth says he has been through it before, it is an understatement. He suffered countless knee injuries in addition to neck, shoulder, rib, groin, ankle, and multiple concussions, which kept him out of the lineup for an extended period of time.

Booth has admitted he’s not a quick healer. The urge to get back to playing can be hard to resist. But going through the long-term injuries earlier in his career, he learned a good support system is the key. Booth grew up in Detroit, where his dad Mike is a dentist and his mother Karen was a stay-at-home parent raising four children.

"My parents brought me up the right way, my wife has always been there too, and it’s the people I'm closest to who are the hardest workers I know,” he said. “So I learned from them and I owe it to them now to do the same."

Come Wednesday, Booth may get that chance to recapture his old form. His career year came in 2008-09 with Florida, where he tallied 31 goals and 29 assists in 72 games. His minutes will be limited. The expectations will be minimal, but Booth has everything to prove.

“The team has been playing well so it’s exciting if I get the chance to get in there with them,” he said.

Polak out at least four weeks

Roman Polak will be out for about four weeks with a knee injury according to head coach Randy Carlyle. This news came before the team got the results of his MRI.

The injury to Polak has created an opportunity for Korbianian Holzer, who is slated to make his season debut on Wednesday.

Holzer had to deal with a different kind of patience, after not playing an NHL game since March 16, 2013. While the Leafs had their fair share of injuries last season, none of them came on defence, which meant no call-up opportunities.

“I’ve got nothing to lose,” said Holzer following the Leafs’ Monday practice. “This is a new opportunity for me here so I’m going to try to make the most of it.”

Remembering Pat Quinn

Pat Quinn’s death resonated throughout the Maple Leafs organization on Monday. But there is one memory that stands out the most for Leafs defenceman Cody Franson.

“When I was playing juniors in Vancouver, I won the defenceman of the year trophy and it was known as the Pat Quinn top defenceman trophy there,” Franson said. “When I won that, he was the one that gave it to me on the ice. I got to know him a little bit after that. When I got into Toronto we had a lot more in common so I got to know him a lot more.”

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