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Putting In Work

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs


You won’t find many days where David Booth takes a day off from an optional skate.

Still trying to find his way, Booth had a bit of a breakthrough in Tuesday’s game against the Predators.

Placed with Nazem Kadri and Richard Panik for much of the night, their line generated many scoring opportunities. Booth’s four shots on goal represented a season high.

At Thursday’s practice, Booth had the same line mates again and he is excited about the prospect of playing alongside Kadri for another game.

“He could be one of the best players around,” said Booth. “He hits people, he controls the puck through the middle of the ice, he can find people. That was really fun playing with him and having the opportunity.”

Booth grabbed an assist on Kadri’s goal on Tuesday. It was his first point since December 12th.

With his season getting off to a rocky start due to injury, Booth has been relentless in his effort to play better and get more ice time.

Following a 2-1 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils, everyone who played that evening took the morning off ahead of their game against the Arizona Coyotes. Booth was the only exception.

“That’s the way I was raised. I think it comes from my dad, he’s one of the hardest workers I know,” added Booth. “He’s just instilled that character in me to use the gifts that I’ve been given. A buddy in college said it’s tough to tell a wolf to sit.”

On Wednesday, Leafs interim coach Peter Horachek threw out the concept of ranking lines. That plays to Booth’s benefit, which will allow for increased ice time, provided that is the plan going forward.

The recent ten-game slide has seen the Leafs have just two games where they scored more than two goals.. On Tuesday, the two most effective lines involved Booth’s, along with the group of Joffrey Lupul, with Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli.

“You just have to work with your lines and how you play to get everyone in the best situation you can and play a better team game,” said Horachek.

No Phaneuf Friday, Maybe Saturday

Dion Phaneuf took part in practice on Thursday, but was ruled out joining the Leafs in Jersey.

“We’re still hopeful,” said Horachek about Phaneuf’s status for Saturday. “It’s hard to tell when and how quickly (Phaneuf will return), it’s a tough situation for him, he has to put a lot of pressure on that.”

Phaneuf has been out since aggravating an injury on January 21st against the Senators.

Potholes

Cody Franson and Roman Polak were delayed getting to practice on Thursday when Polak’s car hit a pothole. Those who were commuting during the early morning rush may have seen the work that was being done to fill the spots.

“When I hit it, I felt it right away” said Polak of the incident. “At first I thought I had a spare tire so I could fix it right away, but then I looked at it and there is none.”

Polak and Franson joined their teammates roughly 15 minutes after practice began.

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