Belak's ban ends but he'll likely sit

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:55 PM ET


 Wade Belak is a free man, but an unemployed one.

 The Maple Leaf forward's eight-game suspension for a wicked high stick to the helmet of Ossi Vaananen of the Colorado Avalanche ended with the final horn of Game 2 against the Ottawa Senators. But he's out $67,682.94 US in salary and will remain skating with Toronto's black aces for the moment.

 "It's nice to be able to play, though we won (Saturday), so I don't expect any roster moves," Belak said.

 "But that's okay, because we want the wins. I'll just be ready in case someone goes down."

 Belak, who maintained that the high stick was worse than it looked because he was off-balance, said he won't shy away from playing physical if and when he's reinstated by coach Pat Quinn.

 "I'll probably keep my stick down if anything, but I'll keep running around and hitting guys," he said. "I won't change that."

 Sitting through Game 2 was the toughest part for Belak, who played in just two of seven post-season games for the Leafs last year after being a big part of the 2002 run to the Eastern Conference final.

 "There were a lot of big hits and emotions and the crowd was into it," he said.

 "It looked like a fun game to play. But it's good to go to Ottawa, too. We have a lot of fans there. It's like playing at home."


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