O'Neill likes it, loves it

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Red Kelly has his pyramid power.

The John Brophy era featured replicas of his black bowler with the words "Bless you boys."

Now, thanks to Jeff O'Neill, the 2005-06 Maple Leafs have introduced their own motivational schtick, complete with catch phrase.

Sitting in each player's cubicle yesterday was a blue ball cap. Along with the Maple Leafs logo, the front of each lid featured the phrase: "Do you like it? I love it."

"It's the new slogan of the team," O'Neill said. "(Leafs trainer) Scotty McKay and I would keep saying it to each other early in camp and it stuck."

O'Neill, by the way, has earned the nickname "O-Dog" in the Leafs dressing room, stealing a page from Blue Jays second baseman Orlando Hudson.

BEAT THE LEAFS!

Winning the National Hockey League championship is important to fans in Ottawa.

But it takes a back seat to defeating the Maple Leafs.

Just ask new Senators goalie Dominik Hasek, who has learned where the priorities lie among the residents of the nation's capital.

"I've learned a lot about the Battle of Ontario," Hasek said yesterday. "People in Ottawa are excited about the chance to win the Stanley Cup. But even more that, they tell you "First and foremost, you have to beat Toronto.

"It is very important to them. It really gets you caught up in the emotion of the rivalry."

CHIP OFF THE OL' STEEN

While his son Alex was making his NHL debut last night, proud poppa Thomas Steen, the former Winnipeg Jets stalward, was keeping a keen eye on his boy.

"He's watching on TV back in Winnipeg," Alex said. "He's going to try to come in for a game later in the season. So are my brother and sister."

Alex and Thomas spoke on the phone Tuesday night. Did dad have any words of wisdom for his son?

"He just told me to relax when I get an opportunity, then bury it."

Good advice.


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