'"They got a pretty feisty all-around team even with the two guys they had out," Ray said. "They still got a physical, tough team. The nice thing is our guys stood up to it and, in a lot of places, initiated it."'
Archives for March 7, 2003
'The Maple Leafs' GM and coach denied Thursday making comments that created a minor stir over the Buffalo Sabres' trade of Vaclav Varada to the Ottawa Senators for unsigned first-round draft pick Jakub Klepis.'
'Two other Maple Leafs fans were arrested outside the arena for fighting, according to police, who said alcohol played a role in the brawls. Police said they were also continuing an investigation into a brawl at the hockey game, which the Sabres won, 4-2, and more arrests were possible.'
'Last night's hostilities, however, brought to mind the halcyon days of the mid-to-late-'70s, when such hockey legends as Perreault, Martin, Robert and Schoenfeld squared off against Sittler, McDonald, Williams and Salming.'
'Sources indicated the Sabres have asked for defensive prospect Carlo Colaiacovo in exchange for Zhitnik. But Quinn, having traded top forward prospect Brad Boyes, will likely be hesitant to part with his premier chattel along the blueline. A package of winger Darcy Tucker, a prospect other than Colaiacovo and another high draft pick could be enough to get the deal done.'
'The highlight: Four fights in the first period alone, including three in a span of 36 seconds, got the crowd into the game. Ponikarovsky and Ray got things started at 11:00. They were followed by Bryan McCabe and Adam Mair at 13:23, Shane Corson and Chris Gratton at 13:53 and Wade Belak and Eric Boulton at 13:59.'
'There were four fights in the first period — something Quinn claimed the Sabres were sent out to do — including three separate bouts in 36 seconds.'
Veteran Sabres defenceman Alexei Zhitnik, on display for Leafs management and a bulging press box of scouts, had a team-high ice time of 26:47 and was a plus-1.
Certainly, in their final home date before Tuesdays trade deadline, individual Sabres were making their own bid to defect, if not to the fat-cat Leafs then to one of the few teams willing to shell out for fresh horses.
'"I don't think there was anything dirty about any of it," Ruff said. "There were no vicious sticks or anything . . . it was good, old-fashioned hockey."'