O'Neill skeptical of new uniforms

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

The Maple Leafs have not yet seen the final product that the National Hockey League expects them to wear next season, but already some are not sure.

"It sounds like they favour the modern-day player," Jeff O'Neill said of the form-fitting sweaters and socks Reebok and the NHL will introduce at the all-star game next week in Dallas. "I like the way they are. They can do new school rules and all that, but I don't know why they want to change the uniforms."

Matt Stajan said the uniforms are an improvement over what the league first took to the NHL Players' Association after the lockout ended in 2005.

"They have come a long way," Stajan said. "They were almost like tight football pants, and the PA would not go for that."

The uniforms will be lighter and hold less water when the players sweat. There also is speculation there will be minor tinkering with the Leafs logo.

"Hopefully not," Stajan said. "If there is, I'm sure there will not be too many happy fans."

What does Darcy Tucker think of the new uniforms?

"Don't know, don't care," Tucker said. "Don't even want to look at them until I put them on."

CONGRATS, WE THINK

With an unsportsmanlike conduct minor against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, Wade Belak moved past 1,000 penalty minutes in his career, giving him 1,001 in 375 games.

"Maybe they will give me a nice silver stick or something, and I will have to make a speech," Belak said with a laugh. "I'm sure my mom is proud."

PANTHERS DECLAWED

The Florida Panthers are clinging to playoff hopes but know they have to buckle down. The Panthers were up 2-1 against Carolina on Tuesday but lost 3-2 in overtime.

"We have to find ways to bear down and get these wins," Stephen Weiss said. "One-goal lead, two-goal lead with under 10 minutes to go, we have to get to a point where that's automatic."

Former Leaf Ed Belfour played against Carolina, but Alex Auld might start against Toronto tonight.

Forwards Chris Gratton, Drew Larman and Anthony Stewart did not get a shift in the third period.


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