Klee a happy Devil

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Though he was in the midst of the Maple Leafs problems before he was traded to the New Jersey Devils on March 8, defenceman Ken Klee said he is somewhat surprised the Leafs are nearly out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture entirely.

"Yeah, a little bit," Klee said. "With Eddie (Belfour) going down, it is a big loss, (since he was) your No. 1 guy who you were going to look to down the stretch. For him to go down, mentally I know it is a big loss for the guys."

Klee has settled in with the Devils, though in a reduced role from what he was playing for the Maple Leafs. Still, he is excited to be on the other side of the playoff ledger, though the Devils have not clinched anything yet.

"I'm not getting the minutes I was in Toronto, here I'm more of a No. 5 guy, and that's fine," Klee said. "I am coming to a team that is in its stride.

"They stay on you to make sure there guys are hounding the puck, always guys clogging up the middle. All the years I have played against them, that is what I always recall. It is what we do well."

The trade that sent Klee to the Devils for rookie forward Aleksander Suglobov a day before the NHL deadline did not come as a shock, Klee said.

THANKS, IGOR

Devils forward Scott Gomez had a career-high 25 goals entering last night and he gives some credit to former teammate Igor Larionov, who is retired.

"I used to use more of a heel curve, but when Igor was here (in 2003-04), he received a load of sticks that weren't his pattern," Gomez said. "I tried them, and I liked them, and he said I should keep them."

But Gomez who did not score more than 19 goals in any of his previous five seasons, is not about to declare himself a true triggerman.

"I still consider myself as a setup man," Gomez said. "I would rather pass the puck than shoot it. I'm probably just shooting when I get the chance now rather than looking first to pass the puck."


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