Leafs get ready for post-Olympic push

Dion Phaneuf (left) and Jake Gardiner battle during Leafs practice at the MasterCard Centre...

Dion Phaneuf (left) and Jake Gardiner battle during Leafs practice at the MasterCard Centre yesterday. (ERNEST DOROSZUK/QMI Agency)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:53 PM ET

Camp Carlyle never gets easier, no matter if it’s the first, second or third time around for some Maple Leafs.

The past six days of basic-training count as camp No. 3 since January 2013. But you could see some extra kick in the team’s stride the past six days, with coach Randy Carlyle and company sensing how much is at stake coming off the Olympic break.

Their remaining NHL schedule has 22 games in 45 days, but the Leafs hope to use it to go much further into April and May.

Toronto ended its games on Feb. 8, a 3-1 win over Vancouver, for a record of 11-2-1. If a 21/2-week break slows that train remains to be seen.

“We were playing our best hockey of the year and getting all of our bodies healthy,” said winger Joffrey Lupul. “But it’s tough to carry momentum over in a two or three-week stretch. So it’s back to square one. I know a lot of other teams got healthy over the break, too.”


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