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The way of the Leafs

Steve Russell, Staff Photographer

I grew up in a house with a die hard Leaf fan, I was a Montreal fan. I had to hear all about the great Leafs over the years, Darryl Sittler, Rick Vaive, Lanny McDonald, Garry Leeman, Miroslav Frycer, I heard about all of the men that would never have a ring on their finger for bringing the Blue and White the ultimate hockey prize.

It seemed a little cruel to me, having the current Leafs dressed in the jerseys of the greats from the 1990's. More than a few of the people in the seats would have loved to see those guys all on one team.

I'm a little less of a Habs fan now, I don't keep up with the team. I'm still not a Leafs fan, I still enjoy tormenting my brother about their difficulties. But, in the dozen plus years I have been working in Toronto, my interest in the team is huge. It's my job to know all about them and I no longer root against them. I watch them all the time, it helps me do my job better when I know how they play, same for the Argos, Blue Jays, Raptors, Rock and TFC.

And when a Toronto squad does well, it makes our jobs a little more fun, the teams are more pumped, they play with a higher level of intensity, the fans are happier and it opens up an opportunity for photographers to go on the road to cover play-offs. Loads of work and stress but also a lot of fun.

I covered my first Leafs game of the season Saturday night. After the first period I was impressed, I could not believe that this team hadn't won a game yet. I was impressed, I could not believe that the team out on the ice, crashing the net, hitting and winning races to the puck hadn't won a game yet this year. If it wasn't for Lundqvist the score would have been lopsided in the Leafs favour.

On a breakaway, Jason Blake is stymied by Hendrik Lundqvist, one of several great scoring chances the Leafs had.

What happened during the first intermission, I don't know. I'm sure it had the fans in the stands equally confused and frustrated.

Fan's signs and booing let the Leafs know how they felt with the team's efforts in the third period.

You can see a gallery of additional images from the game here



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