Belak is likely back

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 5:42 PM ET


 As much as Wade Belak enjoys the company of Keith Acton, he would love to distance himself from the energetic Maple Leafs assistant coach.

 The best way to do that would be for Belak to get word he is back in the lineup. There's a possibility it could happen tonight and, if Belak plays, it would end his participation in the harsh skating drills that Acton lords over the extras at the end of every practice.

 "It's tough to have fresher legs because (Acton) has been skating us pretty hard," Belak said with a smile. "But the body feels good. You want to get in there and help some of the other guys who are banged up and tired."

 The 6-foot-5, 221-pound Belak skated on a line with a couple of other big fellas -- 6-foot-6, 230-pound Nik Antropov and 6-foot-4, 220-pound Alexei Ponikarovsky -- yesterday at practice and it's a threesome which could be intact tonight.

 If Belak is not overly rusty, and the other two are in the mood, physical damage to the Flyers could result.

 "I'm not sure," coach Pat Quinn said of Belak's possible involvement. "He practised on a line that probably would allow him to play."

 Belak hasn't dressed since March 20 against the Colorado Avalanche, a game in which he incurred an eight-game suspension (six regular season and two playoffs) for clubbing Ossi Vaananen over the head with his stick. In total, Belak has missed the past 14 games.

 "I'm well-rested and I have been ready to go for a while now," Belak said.

 "(The Flyers) like to use their bodies. It plays into my style and it's why I think I can contribute."


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