TORONTO (AP) _ Gary Roberts doesn't feel so old now that the Toronto Maple
Leafs have added 41-year-old center Ron Francis to the team.
Roberts scored twice, and Ed Belfour made 15 saves for his seventh shutout
of the season as the Maple Leafs beat the Florida Panthers 5-0 Tuesday night.
``I've actually gotten younger. I'm not one of the old guys anymore,'' the
37-year-old Roberts said. ``If you're 35 on our team, you're still young. We've
been kidding around about that. There's no doubt we are an older group, but I
think there is a lot of legs left in the old guys.''
Francis, acquired from Carolina earlier Tuesday, becomes the oldest Leafs
player. Belfour is 38, Joe Nieuwendyk and Calle Johansson are 37 and Brian
Leetch is 36.
Roberts, a teammate of Francis' in Carolina, helped persuade Francis to drop
his no-trade clause.
``I talked to him briefly in the morning. I tried to influence him a little
bit. I told him how great a city and how great a hockey town this is,'' Roberts
said. ``I didn't have to tell him that. He knew.''
Francis arrived during the first period and watched the game. He will make
his Toronto debut Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
``I'm well aware we have a very good hockey team,'' Francis said. ``We have
a lot of experience and leadership.''
The Maple Leafs have nine players who have been NHL captains, including
current leader Mats Sundin.
Belfour recorded his 72nd career shutout, putting him ahead of Harry Lumley
for 10th on the NHL career list. Belfour, plagued recently by a sore back, was
rarely tested as the Panthers managed just 12 shots throughout the first two
The Maple Leafs didn't acquire a backup goalie before Tuesday's NHL trade
deadline despite Belfour's sore back, which has kept him from practicing.
Owen Nolan, Matt Stajan and Joe Nieuwendyk also scored for the Maple Leafs,
who have won four of five.
The Maple Leafs outshot Florida 42-15.
The offensively challenged Panthers traded leading scorer Valeri Bure on
Monday. Florida has won just once in six games (1-4-1).
Florida goalie Steve Shields says some of his teammates are not giving a
``We have a lot of guys that show up and play hard and we have some that are
holding us back,'' Shields said. ``It's pretty obvious to everybody we're a
team that's in ninth or 10th because we don't have everybody coming to the rink
Nolan's one-timer from in front of the net gave Toronto a 1-0 lead at 5:23
of the first period, and Roberts put a rebound past goalie Steve Shields at
Nolan, acquired before last year's trade deadline, made a pass from behind
the net to Stajan, who stretched the lead to 3-0 at 4:48 of the third.
Nieuwendyk scored at 11:31, and Roberts made it 5-0 less than two minutes
Fans chanted 'Eddie!, Eddie!' in the final minutes.