Winger Darcy Tucker was breaking in a new pair of skates and gloves yesterday, but not for use in Ottawa.
"I might as well put the time off to good use," said the sore-ribbed Tucker, who worked out separately from the healthy Leafs, joining Eric Lindros and Bryan McCabe as homestickers for the two-game trip.
"It's not bothering me to skate, so that's encouraging," Tucker said. "But I'm not even close to playing in the next week."
McCabe was at the Air Canada Centre yesterday, but did not skate.
"Same old, same old," the team's leading scorer said of the rehab work on his slightly torn groin.
Lindros is waiting for an update on his torn wrist ligaments.
The Leafs are in Ottawa for two dates in 72 hours, having last played consecutive games on the road in the same city during the 1949-1950 season.
But Coach Pat Quinn sounded as though he wanted another half century to pass before this league-wide experiment is tried again. He lumps it in with the shootout as a "gimmick", to stoke interest in the game in non-traditional rival markets in the Southern U.S.
"That's how the board of governors saw it," said Quinn, whose troops duplicate the two-game experience later in the season against the Canadiens, March 23-25 in Montreal. "A lot of us don't agree.
"But I'm not thinking of it as a positive or a negative. We're going to Ottawa and we're going there to get points."
On Jan. 29, 1950, the Leafs blanked the hometown Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 and two nights later, were shut out 3-0. A few days later, Feb. 5 and 6, they went to Boston ands swept the Bruins 2-1 and 3-1.
Tonight's game against the Senators will feature five of the top 14 short-handed goal-scorers in the league; Toronto's Alexei Ponikarovsky (4), Matt Stajan (3) and Mats Sundin (2), plus Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson (3) and Mike Fisher (2)... Ed Belfour came into this season with a 1.84 goals-against average against Ottawa, but has given up 20 goals in less than four games against them this year.