Domi's longevity makes the grade

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

CALGARY -- Tie Domi prefers to celebrate tonight's milestone 740th game as a Maple Leaf rather than guess about his future.

When he steps on the ice at the Saddledome tonight, he'll pass tough defenceman Bob Baun and join the top 10 Leafs in games played in a Toronto uniform. Domi now is in an exclusive club, one that includes four of the most famous captains in club history -- George Armstrong, Dave Keon, Darryl Sittler and current teammate Mats Sundin, -- and two of its greatest defencemen, Borje Salming and Tim Horton.

The only other significant club record Domi can claim up to now is most penalty minutes (2,204).

Domi knows he will never match Sittler's points, Armstrong's Stanley Cup rings or get invited to the all-star game, but thinks the top 10 rank is a credit to his durability in 16 NHL seasons most of them with the tough job of team enforcer.

"It's nice to be put in a category with all those legends," Domi said yesterday. "I won't be breaking many scoring records, but that history is nice to be part of."

When Domi started here with a two-game stint in 1989-90, his teammates included John Kordic, Allan Bester and Daniel Marois.

After being traded to the Rangers and later the Jets, Domi lobbied former president Cliff Fletcher to bring him 'home' and he has gone on to play nine seasons. His longest interruptions weren't by injury, but by suspensions.

The 36-year-old was asked how he wanted to be remembered here.

"I just think all of the teammates I've ever had know that I come to play every night and I took care of them," Domi said. "For the fans, I hope they know that every time they came to watch, I left everything on the ice."

How much higher Domi climbs the Leafs' games list remains to be seen. His contract runs through next year, but and general manager John Ferguson and coach Pat Quinn have begun moving toward a younger lineup.

"I'm not even thinking about that," Domi said, bristling at the idea of being phased out.

"I have another year and we'll go from there."

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THE DEAL WITH ... TIE DOMI

With tonight's game, Tie Domi will pass Bob Baun to join the top 10 in career appearances as a Leaf:

1. George Armstrong 1,187

2. Tim Horton 1,185

3. Borje Salming 1,099

4. Dave Keon 1,062

5. Ron Ellis 1,034

6. Bob Pulford 947

7. Darryl Sittler 844

8. Ron Stewart 838

9. Mats Sundin 789

10. Tie Domi/Bob Baun 739


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