Klee is excited at facing big test

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:08 PM ET


 Ken Klee has a couple reasons for wanting to throw his weight around the Wachovia Center during the next few days.

 For one, the Philadelphia Flyers are a big reason he's in a Maple Leafs uniform in the first place, along with Bryan Marchment and Brian Leetch. Toronto's play in its own zone -- forwards and defencemen -- was a constant source of worry for coach Pat Quinn through last year's seven-game playoff series with the Flyers.

 "We had skill last year, but it didn't match Philadelphia's battling in the pits," Quinn said. "When (defenceman Robert) Svehla went home, the feeling was we would try to replace not the skill level he had, but with a different type of skill level with more of a physical presence."

 During the off-season, the Leafs shelled out for free agents Klee and Marchment and traded for Leetch at the March deadline.

 "I feel excitement more than any pressure," Klee said of the Flyers yesterday morning. "We always had great rivalries with Philly when I played for Washington. I love the atmosphere here. It will be a hitting game, a physical game and that suits me more more than high-flying, run-and-gun hockey."

 Klee's regular season was cut short when he was toppled by the Flyers' Donald Brashear in the teams' final meeting of the schedule. He dislocated his right shoulder and didn't get back until the Eastern Conference quarter-final with the Ottawa Senators was under way.

 But March 18 was also the one game of the season series where Toronto contained the Flyers offence and came out with a 3-2 victory. Leetch had the winning goal.

 "We'll have to play a similar defensive style (as in that game) if we want to beat (the Flyers)," Klee said. "They have a few big guys, but I don't think Ottawa got credit for some of the bigger guys they had (other than the Slovak Sasquatch, Zdeno Chara).

 "Radek Bonk and Marian Hossa were big men. They look small because they move quick, but they're 220-plus pounds.

 "John LeClair is a big man in front of the net for the Flyers and (Keith) Primeau's a big guy when he's skating. But it's all about body positioning. You have to out-smart them. When (the Sens) put Chara in front of our net, we put guys in front of him to block the shot first."

 Klee expects lots of company to drop into the low slot in this series, wearing orange and black dinner attire. He hopes his team repays in kind.

 "We need to get in front of their net and cause traffic. The goalies in the NHL are good -- if you let them see the puck all the time. I'm sure they're preaching the same things over there about Eddie Belfour."


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