Brown pleased as punch

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

All Brad Brown was missing yesterday was a heavyweight belt around his waist.

With photos of his memorable punch-up with towering Ottawa Senators pugilist Brian McGrattan splashed all over the local newspapers and websites, Brown admitted it was one of the best bouts of his career.

"It ranks up there," Brown, 30, said of the fight Wednesday night, one which saw McGrattan sliced open.

"It was a good fight. Because of the whole history of McGrattan and the Maple Leafs last year, I wanted to have a good fight against him."

Brown, like many Leafs fans, still remembers the way the 6-foot-5 McGrattan threw his weight around and at times played havoc with the Leafs during the 2005-06 campaign.

"It was in the back of my mind," Brown said.

Brown, a former captain of the Minnesota Wild, admitted being cranked up by the crowd with every uppercut he threw.

"At home, any little punch you toss, the fans react," he said. "I could feel them supporting me."

Just how intimidating can Brown be?

"He's old-school tough," coach Paul Maurice said. "When he was healthy and in our Marlies lineup last year, the games were very, very quiet."

Brown barely has been mentioned by the media the past two weeks whenever there was talk of filling the vacant spots on the Leafs blue line. But that has not stripped him of his motivation whatsoever.

"The dream is to make the Leafs," he said. "That hasn't changed. This is a (make or break camp) for me.

"Once you are out of the NHL, it's so hard to get back in. I told myself during the off-season that if I wanted to be back, I'd have to be in the best shape ever."

LOOSE LEAFS

Forwards Kyle Wellwood (groin), Michael Peca (hip flexor) and Darcy Tucker (hip flexor) were back on the ice yesterday. All are hoping to see action during back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings this weekend ... Andrew Raycroft is expected to start in both contests versus the Red Wings ... Maurice dismisses rumours that there might be character concerns with goalie J-S Aubin. "Those reputations are unusual," Maurice said. "Players in the locker room know (the real story). That's it. Most times even the coaches don't know. The reputations that sometimes are in the media are not always accurate." ... Kris Newbury was returned to the Marlies yesterday.


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