The on-ice habits of the Maple Leafs are becoming far too predictable throughout the NHL.
Teams are very aware that the Leaf forwards often refuse to fire the puck, instead opting to feed it back to the point men. It's a trend that has occured 5-on-5, not just on the power play.
"We are a team that just does not want to put the puck at the net, and it is costing us," coach Pat Quinn said. "We just don't shoot enough."
Meanwhile, those cross-crease passes on the power play are becoming old, too. Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller said he knew the Leafs would attempt such a tactic on the play in which he robbed Darcy Tucker of the potential tying goal late in the Sabres 3-1 victory Thursday.
"I watch Sportsdesk," Miller said. "I know what they like to do."
Asked about the state of Ed Belfour's ailing back, Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson would only confirm the Eagle would not be joining the Leafs today in New York.
"The tests continue and what has been revealed to us continues," Ferguson said last night. "As we sit here, he still is not ready. "We don't have any timeline."
An interested observer in the Leafs practice yesterday was actor Tim Robbins, who portrayed pitcher Nook La Loosh in Bull Durham.
Robbins, a huge Rangers fan, had completed a game of shinny on an adjoining ice pad and spent a few minutes watching Toronto's workout at a downtown Manhattan rink.
ON THE MEND
Toronto Marlies defenceman Jay Harrison, who was solid in his eight-game Leafs debut just over a month ago, continues to recover from hand surgery. Harrison had surgery on his right palm on March 9 to remove a bone chip.
"It was a pretty small procedure and we just wanted to nip the problem in the bud," Harrison said.
Harrison was hurt in a game Feb. 25 against Omaha. He is expected to return to the Marlies lineup either late next week or early the following week. Fellow defenceman Staffan Kronwall, also has been nursing an injury but should be back in the lineup after this weekend.