Leetch dealing with snub

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The only rings most 37-year-old men worry about are the baggy ones forming under their eyes.

But for Boston Bruins defenceman Brian Leetch, those five interconnected circles that make up the Olympic rings still are important in his life.

A three-time Olympian, Leetch figured his former defence partner with the Maple Leafs, Bryan McCabe, would once again be unfairly passed over by Team Canada.

Instead, McCabe is headed to Italy as a member of Team Canada's taxi squad while Leetch, snubbed by Team USA earlier this week, stays home -- for now.

Leetch still could be added to Team USA's three-man taxi squad. If not, he'll attend a friend's wedding in Milwaukee during the break.

"I know Bryan (McCabe) and I know he wants to compete with the best," Leetch said yesterday. "Representing his country is a big deal to him, just like it is to me."

Because he had not heard a peep from American general manager Don Waddell, Leetch was planted in front of the tube Monday waiting for his name to be called. It was an announcement that would never come.

"It's very disappointing," said Leetch, whose Boston Bruins plays host to the Leafs tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden. "I knew this would be my final shot at the Olympics and, unfortunately, it did not pan out."

Leetch has made three previous Olympic appearances for the Americans -- in Calgary in 1988; in Nagano, Japan in '98; and in Salt Lake in '02.

"For the time being, I'm just concentrating on the Leafs," said Leetch, whose Bruins have seven points in seven games since trading Joe Thornton to San Jose for forwards Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and defenceman Brad Stuart.


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