Peca deals with Buffalo mess

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

When Michael Peca uttered the comment, "It's a mess," yesterday, he was not referring to his ailing body.

He was, in fact, talking about the ravaged streets and neighbourhoods near his Buffalo-area home.

As Peca and his family drove down from Toronto to inspect their house on Sunday, the right hip flexor muscle injury he aggravated in New Jersey last week was the furthest thing from his mind.

It just didn't seem like a pressing issue. Not when so many people in western New York were struggling to find ways to keep warm and salvage their spoiling food in the wake of the devastating snow storm last Thursday that left a significant chunk of the region still without electricity.

"It was a disaster area," Peca said. "It looks like a hurricane swept through there. There are trees big and small that are snapped in two that are just on top of houses and cars and roads and power lines.

"It was good for us to get down there and see it because you don't really get the gist of it from the newspaper or TV. It's a disaster area and you can see why it was declared a natural disaster because there still are a lot of people without power. Fortunately the power in our house came back (Sunday) so the cleanup can get started.

"When we were without power, we couldn't get people into the house because there was a driving ban and people couldn't get out of their driveways."

Peca feels the clean-up effort will be "a slow tedious process."

"It'll take a long time to clean up, what with the debris from trees and the damage the trees caused," he said. "The contractors will be busy, and so will the insurance companies."

Peca's comments came minutes after he had completed his off-ice workout at Lakeshore Lions Arena. He did not practise with his teammates, however, marking the fourth consecutive time he had not been on the ice.

"It was better than (Sunday)," he said of the injury. "I did a lot of things without discomfort or restriction."

Peca, then with the Edmonton Oilers, first suffered the ailment during a game against the Anaheim Ducks last February. He felt some tightness during training camp, causing team officials to proceed with caution.

"The other night in New Jersey, I felt dehydrated and chronic,"said Peca, who remains a question mark for tomorrow's game with the Colorado Avalanche.

"If he can come in, feels good and can practise (today), then he's in the lineup," Leafs coach Paul Maurice said.


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