Bitterness starting to fester

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:17 PM ET


 Up until last night, the Maple Leafs-Flyers series featured about as much unpleasantness as a grade school piano recital.

 If this series lacked an edge, it certainly has evolved into one as Toronto's 4-1 win last night exposed the nasty side.

 At the centre of the ugliness emerged Philly defenceman Marcus Ragnarsson, who floored Alexander Mogilny with a nasty slash to the leg in the third period.

 "I thought that was pretty cheap," Tie Domi said. "The guy two-handed him twice."

 Mogilny also was angry with the Flyers' Jeremy Roenick and, in fact, went after him in the third, which is out of character for the flashy Russian, who also nailed former Leafs defenceman Danny Markov with a hit that bordered on boarding. There was no call.

 "He was picking away at me," Mogilny said of his altercation with Roenick. "If somebody's picking away at you long enough, you've got to respond."

 Of course, Mogilny's anger had all but vanished once the game had ended. By the time he had showered and dressed, he was back to being his usual comical self. For instance, when asked to recall the last time he got into a fight, Mogilny replied: "Early in my career, and then everybody found out how good I was and nobody wanted to fight me."

 Another irritated member of the home team was goaltender Ed Belfour, who took exception to Philly's frequent forays into the crease.

 Belfour identified Flyers captain Keith Primeau as the main culprit and the two exchanged words more than once during the contest.

 "It seems like any time our defenceman gets a little bit of a hook on them, it gives them, in their minds, the right to try to run me over, or plow into me or do whatever they can to get a piece of me," Belfour said.

 Whether the nastiness heats up from here on in, which it probably will, no one knows, but Toronto coach Pat Quinn isn't about to lose sleep over it.

 "It's one of the elements of the media, controversy," he said. "And conflict. What's the other (word)? It all has to do with crap. That's spelled with a C as well."


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