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01/15/2013

The Maple Leafs Forever

Richard Lautens - Staff Photographer - @rlautens

If you live in Toronto, you know there is only one thing more inescapable than taxes and DVP slowdowns:   news reports of the Toronto Maple Leaf. 

As everyone knows, with the new agreement in place, the Leafs began their training camp on Sunday.  In typical fashion, a media cast of dozens went out to the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence (great name) in Etobicoke only to find the 9am medicals and physicals  had changed into a 2pm skate.  At least there were a couple of press conferences in the middle somewhere to keep the media types out of trouble.

With all the hype and anticipation, frankly it felt like business as usual from everybody.

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The day before the first practice, Brian Burke addressed the media with his take on his firing.  I'll miss his fire and passion.  I spent a night with him and Dave Nonis in an Irish pub in Vancouver last year and I must say he is an entertaining guy to be watching an NHL game in a pub with-it helped that he used his MLSE credit card to pick up the tab.

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Goalie Ben Scrivens is seen struggling into a jersey to have his official portrait taken.

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Goalie Ben Scrivens has his official portrait taken by team photographer Graig Abel.

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Canadian Press photographer Chris Young (left) and I couldn't resist jumping in for an official portrait ourselves.

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The team takes a quick water break in the middle of the two hour hard skate.

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Coach Randy Carlyle makes some passes during a drill.  He is quite a hands on coach and was busy feeding pucks and skating around for most of the practice.  Is the drill behind him on the white board clear to everybody?

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Captain Dion Phaneuf stretches as he skates beside coach Randy Carlyle.

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Leo Komarov (47) and Phil Kessel battle it out in a corner.

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Here comes the Leafs.  Leo Komarov (left) chases the puck followed closely by Leaf captain Dion Phaneuf (middle) and Phil Kessel (white on right)

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A true-blue fan, Kevin McConnell watches the practice.  The Leafs opened up practice Monday and Tuesday to several hundred fans.  Many teams in the NHL allow fans into most of their practices but it is unusual for the Leafs.

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Christopher Schell 7 is one of the many fans who came out to see the Leafs practice.  He is seen looking through the door to the rink.

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Phil Kessel signs an autograph for Matthew MacDougall 12.

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New GM Dave Nonis watches the practice.  I hope he is getting sponsorship from Timmy's.

Fingers crossed for the rest of the season. 

Richard Lautens - Toronto Star

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