It was getting toward the end of today’s championship scrimmage – an oxymoron, yes, but that’s their schedule and they’re stickin’ to it – and just when I thought my eyelids were beginning to feel the pull of gravity, it happened.
Bam! Marc Moro (
immortalized mentioned here yesterday as half of the “Later-to-Moro” funny) stood up Matt Stajan with a well-timed, honest check at the blue line that put Stajan on his fanny. Down at the other end a few seconds later, Nik Antropov shoved Bryan Marchment into the post after the whistle blew, and Marchment took a swipe back at him. A couple of shifts later – that’s how long it took for him to catch up, I guess – Marchment was seen telling Nik to knock it off, give or take a few choice words.
And as the clock wound down, that was Steven Later (mentioned here … aw, let’s just leave it alone, okay?) being clipped under the chin by Ben Ondrus against the end boards – Ondrus was actually penalized – and all of a sudden, there was a bit of a scrum and Darcy Tucker came flying into it pushing and shoving.
Well, it’s about time. There’s been a week of pattycake tomfoolery here, but the punnymoon is over. Save for the shootout, that is – the Leafs aren’t practicing ‘em, but they seem to be having ‘em, this being their third of them – and that was Antropov scoring the clinching goal after O’Neill and Sundin had matched goals, and Allison, Czerkawski and John Pohl missed.
Scorers during the game were O’Neill and Martin Sagat for the eventual winners, the latter coming on an Eddie Belfour giveaway when he strayed into the corner and tried a cross-ice pass (he was well over the red goalline extended, so unlike yesterday’s wandering this was a legal, though inadvisable play for him under the new rules).
Khavanov and Sundin scored for the whites, the captain given a breakaway thanks to Tucker’s lovely two-line pass in transition. This might be the kind of play we’ll see a lot of later – the defence turned the wrong way, the puck coming loose just inside the defensive zone, and a quick and heady turnaround going the other way.