TORONTO - While Curtis Joseph, Mats Sundin and the rest of the Maple Leafs Olympic contingent are striving for gold in Salt Lake City, many of their teammates will be resting easy in front of their TV sets.
The majority of talk in the Leafs' dressing room on Monday was about what players planned to do during their rare mid-season sabbatical. Most players are taking the time to rest and heal those aching injuries. Also high on the list was trying to maintain some kind of overall fitness during the long 14-day layoff.
Penalty killing specialist Alyn McCauley is getting out of Toronto to try and zone out before he resumes workouts. The team has designed programs for all the players to follow during the down time.
"I'm just heading home for a couple days and then get back to riding the bike," said McCauley, who hails from Gananoque, Ontario. "Just relaxing, resting, watching the Olympics and cheering Canada on."
Winger Garry Valk has plans to enjoy the city of Toronto for a change. His hectic schedule doesn't allow him to spend much time with his family here during the season. He hopes to take in a few plays, maybe the Science Centre and get to the movies.
| Gary Roberts, the Leafs' fitness guru, won't have trouble staying in shape. |
Graig Abel Photography
While getting some quality time in, most players plan on working out individually, except for brothers-in-law Shayne Corson and Darcy Tucker, who have plans to skate together.
"I think a lot of guys are just going to take it easy and go away for awhile probably workout on their own. I imagine Darcy and I will work out a little bit together," Corson said.
As the players struggle to keep themselves in the shape, all plan to cheer on their favourite team at the Olympics.
Tie Domi is arranging his schedule around Friday night's game between Canada and Sweden. Dmitry Yushkevich, who had his Olympic dream quashed by a blood clot in his knee, will be watching the games and learning in the process.
"I'm definitely going to watch the games. It's going to be great hockey," Yushkevich said. "I don't have the chance to play there but it's going to be like going to school. You can just watch the tapes and learn so much."
Even Alexander Mogilny, who turned down an opportunity to play for Team Russia will be watching intently as he tries to get his back injury under control. Despite not wishing to play it's clear where his heart lies.
"Absolutely, Russia of course," Mogilny said.
The Olympics break is clearly a time for the Leafs to get healthy and rested before their incredibly tough stretch run, which has them playing 24 games in 46 nights.
Considering that ominous task it appears everyone will pay the price for the short vacation.