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Leafs Return To Their Roots

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs




Two wins into the regular season the Maple Leafs are returning to their roots.

A team founded by Major Conn Smythe will spend today immersed in military and small town life at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

The Leafs hold on the loyalties of Canadian hockey fans was forged in the 1930s when Hockey Night In Canada Radio broadcasts brought Foster Hewitt's voice to a mostly rural Canada.

Today, the Maple Leafs practice in tiny RCA Flyers Arena, capacity about 500. They have the same lag between home games that left coaches wondering how to occupy players in the 50 game season.

For players like James Reimer (Norweena, Man.) and Jay Rosehill (Olds, Alb.), greeting fans and being the talk of the local barbershop is reminiscent of their beginnings.  

They have been greeted by fans all along this endeavour. Monday, a crowd of 2,000 fans had to take shifts to watch the team practice.

The club will participate in some team-building exercises today, practice Wednesday, head for a golf outing and return for regular practice Thursday in Toronto.

Thanks to the quirks of the schedule, the Maple Leafs will have been idle a week before facing Calgary at Air Canada Centre on Saturday.

Briefly: Nazem Kadri was expected to skate with the team again Tuesday. Kadri is recovering from a knee sprain but won't be back until near month's end...Clarke MacArthur missed practice on Monday with an elbow infection but he was back on the ice Tuesday with Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin.
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