A few Leafs are starting a tradition of how they celebrate big goals -- or at least borrowing a page from European football. They are saluting the fans, as Darcy Tucker did after his overtime goal on Saturday against Ottawa, before the group hug or the high-fives with the bench.
Recently, Mats Sundin gave the pumped fist to the upper bowl of blue and white sweaters at Scotiabank Place en route to a win in Ottawa and teammate Alex Steen did likewise on Thursday when he potted Toronto's only goal against the Senators. Watch for a repeat if the Leafs can get one in Montreal this Saturday when the Bell Centre likely will be half-filled with Toronto sweaters.
"Nothing wrong with celebrating when you score goals," Sundin said. "You show your emotions because hockey is an emotional game and you show it for the fans. We've had great fan support in Buffalo, Ottawa, wherever we go. I like that Darcy celebrated with the fans and that's the way it's supposed to be."
After escaping the Marlies as a mid-season callup, Boyd Devereux realized his NHL employment was threatened by the return of Tucker and Kyle Wellwood. So the fourth-line winger came out of the gate with a purpose on Saturday after three games in the press box. His third-period goal triggered a Leafs comeback.
"I was trying to keep it simple and it felt good to float one in and chip in on the scoresheet," Devereaux said.
Devereaux has 12 points in 20 games.
At practice today, the Leafs are scheduled to try out the lightweight uniform system the NHL will be using in 2007-08 ... Sundin is modest about not going more than two games without a point, a streak that he has kept alive almost a full year. "The points as a forward are a big part of my job and I understand that," Sundin said. "But at the same time, you have great games where you don't have any. Then you have a so-so game and get two or three. The pieces just fall." ... Tucker says he is far from 100% recovered from his broken foot. "It's tough when you go from zero to 60 (after two months off) and you don't hit 40, 50 or 55. I'm trying to find my way for the most part."