Hit by Leafs' Domi sticks with Bondra

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 5:37 PM ET


 THERE WERE no sand bags ringing the Air Canada Centre yesterday, no password was required to get in the Maple Leafs dressing room and coach Pat Quinn favoured a track suit over combat fatigues.

 Had Peter Bondra not lobbed a long-distance shot at Tie Domi, the fourth playoff Battle of Ontario, would have passed its first day peacefully.

 Bondra yesterday accused the Leafs forward of head-hunting, still a little sore from a check Domi threw late in Saturday night's 6-0 Leafs romp at the Corel Centre.

 "Somebody else steps in when you're battling for the puck with one player, and usually that's when somebody gets hurt," Bondra said from Ottawa. "Obviously, he wasn't looking for the puck. He was just going after my head."

 Domi wasn't called on the play, while Sens' Chris Neil was sent off for a similar hit in the second period that led to a back-breaking Leafs power play goal. The former Washington Capital expects to play Game 1 on Thursday, but having been through a couple of Toronto-Ottawa games, he feels he has the plot figured out.

 "It's a rivalry and it's going to be a war, I guess," he said.

 Domi was stalked by Neil for the rest of the game, but turned down offers to fight.

 "I didn't agree with his hit on Bonzai," Neil told the Ottawa Sun. "I told (Domi) we've got to go. He said no we don't, the score was 5-0. If I was in his boat, I'd be the same way."

 GIVEN A DAY OFF

 Domi was one of many Leafs given yesterday off by Quinn, who backed Neil's basic premise that there is a proper time and place for such bravado. Usually, the playoffs are fight-free, but several NHL teams beefed up for the stretch run and that might spill over this year.

 "I can't see it happening, but who knows," Quinn said. "The fighters in the 1970s and part of the '90s are guys that frankly, have not added to the game in my opinion. It's staged stuff: 'You and I need to go to keep our jobs here.' "

 Quinn would prefer the Leafs stick to the game plan that brought them two wins and a tie in their past three meetings with Ottawa. Toronto had better goaltending from Ed Belfour and didn't try elaborate on offensive plays that the puck-hungry Sens could feast upon.

 Oh yes, the Leafs have a size advantage, once you get past Sens' 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara.

 "Size could be a factor in this sort of a series," Quinn said.

 "But playoff hockey is generally physical and they (the Senators) are showing a (new, tougher) side. They tried to be physical the other night.

 "But they have quickness. So it's like paper-rock-scissors. We have to make sure our size guys don't get into little foot races with the smaller (Ottawa) guys."


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