by John McCauley
October 27, 2003TORONTO
-- With the late Dan Snyder's parents in attendance, a polite clap turned into a standing ovation as a simple message of comfort appeared on the scoreboard.
"To the Snyder Family and the Atlanta Thrashers: Over the past few weeks the Toronto Maple Leafs and the people of Toronto have been thinking of you."
The applause lasted for nearly two minutes and it wasn't just coming from the stands. Both players' benches, including coaches, trainers and equipment managers were all taking time to pay their respects to Snyder and his grieving family.
"There was a little something special to see the Snyder's in the stands," Thrasher's coach Bob Hartley said. "(The Snyder's) have been supportive of our hockey club and obviously every member of our organization."
|Ed Belfour made plenty of big stops against Atlanta. |
(Graig Abel Photography)
The Snyders were in attendance Monday night, showing their support for the Thrashers. The family has never pointed blame at star centre Dany Heatley for the car crash that killed their son, but rather have been helping the entire team get through the trauma.
While Heatley is rehabbing from his injuries, Atlanta has been able to use the tragedy as an emotional springboard to early success, and they did it again, scoring three straight goals to beat the Leafs in overtime, 3-2, Monday night at Air Canada Centre.
Leafs' forward Tom Fitzgerald, who had a goal and an assist in the loss, believes Atlanta has been able to rally because of the situation that has been placed upon them.
"It's a tool they're using to their advantage," Fitzgerald said. "We knew that tonight would be a lift for them with the Snyder family in the building." ACCIDENT IS JUST A WORD
Nik Antropov, who is no stranger to the trainer's room, will be in there again after suffering a shoulder injury in the game. The big forward isn't sure how it happened, but he claims it was on a hit from behind.
Pat Quinn speculated after the game that it could be a serious separation and may keep him out of the lineup for sometime.
Antropov missed most of his first two seasons of professional hockey with knee injuries and has never played a complete 82 game schedule.