October 25, 2003 (TORONTO)
-- It's probably not the storybook ending he would have liked, but the Maple Leaf, who is perhaps the most popular in the history, will take it.
Toronto fans were given the chance to cheer on Doug Gilmour one more time after the forever Leaf officially called it a career on September 8th at a quiet press conference in Toronto.
| Doug Gilmour waves in appreciation to the Air Canada Centre faithful. |
(Graig Abel Photography)
Gilmour dropped the ceremonial puck before the 3-1 Maple Leafs' victory over the Washington Capitals Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.
Before being introduced to the crowd, the 19,241 in attendance were treated to a highlight reel of No. 93's greatest moments in the Blue and White on the jumbotron. Then when he was finally introduced the ovation seemed to go on for hours.
"He was the heart and soul of his team and he wore his jersey with pride," described Andy Frost, the Leafs arena announcer. "Toronto was your town in the early 90s and tonight, it's your town again."
Gilmour stood and waved graciously to the packed house as they applauded endlessly, seemingly knowing that this night was as much for the fans as it was for the star.
"Thank you very much. This is very overwhelming," said Gilmour. "I just want to say thank you to the Toronto Maple Leafs, all of my teammates and obviously my inspiration and that's you guys, the fans."
Gilmour was then joined at center ice by Bryan McCabe and Gary Roberts who presented him with a cheque from the Maple Leafs. The amount was $93 for each of his assists in '92 and '93, a total of $16, 646. The recipient is to be "Best Buddies" an organization dedicated to mentoring youth.
Although he has officially hung up the skates, Gilmour refuses to close the door all the way and whenever he's asked if this is actually the end he always seems to respond with a little glint in his eye.
Maybe will still haven't seen the last of "Killer"?
RETURN OF THE FLYING "A"
| Mats moves in for his 300th as a Leaf. |
(Graig Abel Photography)
Assistant captain and blueline anchor, Bryan McCabe made his season debut Saturday and looked like he wasn't lying when he boasted about the great shape he was in before a freakish knee injury sidelined the vet.
McCabe skated with Aki Berg Saturday, opened the scoring for the Leafs and showed no ill-effects on the knee when he accelerated for a breakaway in the second frame.
Alex Mogilny also returned from a nagging groin injury and didn't miss a step as he was easily the best skater on the ice and was awarded the game's first star. I SWEAR THERE WAS A MONKEY ON MY BACK A SECOND AGO
Just as the criticism was drawing to a fevered pitch for Mats Sundin concerning his inablilty to put the puck in the back of the net this year, the captain came through.
Sundin scored his first of the season off an Alex Mogilny feed as the two skated on a line with Nik Antropov. The line threatened all night.
The goal was also Sundin's 300th as a Leaf, a puck that'll being going in the trophy case. MAN IN THE BOX
The Leafs continued their parade to the penalty box, taking 36 minutes in penalties compared to the 22 minutes served by the Capitals.