Leafs light up kid's day

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

It was a thrill of a lifetime for 14-year-old Brandon Gibson.

Just four months after undergoing a double lung transplant, the wide-eyed kid from Scarborough was decked out in goalie equipment yesterday and had the opportunity to step out on to the Air Canada Centre ice for practice alongside Maple Leafs forward Jeff O'Neill.

"It was unbelievable ," Brandon said. "My dreams came true."

Although he is a goalie, his favourite Leaf is Kyle Wellwood.

"He's so quick and fast," Brandon said.

Brandon is part of the Trillium Gift of Life program, an endeavour supported by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. Brandon actually gave a speech to MLSEL employees, including chairman Richard Peddie, prior to his surgery back in November.

Months later, with his operation long completed, he was contacted by Leafs TV about taking part in the on-ice workout yesterday.

"He has been so excited," Brandon's mother Muriel said of the Grade 8 student. "He was kind of shocked to be going out there with the Leafs."

PAVEL UNDER PRESSURE

As he prepared to face his former Tampa Bay Lightning teammates tonight, defenceman Pavel Kubina admitted feeling the pressure associated with his whopping contract earlier this season.

Kubina inked a four-year, $20 million US deal last summer.

"It was on my mind, sure," Kubina said yesterday. "And all the injuries I went through early in the season didn't help either."

LOOSE LEAFS

Forward Yanic Perreault, who was scratched for Saturday's game against the rival Ottawa Senators, said his ailing shoulder is good enough for him to play tonight against the Lightning. Coach Paul Maurice would not reveal if Perreault will be in the lineup however ... As the former coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, Maurice is no stranger to the Southeast Division's Lightning. In fact, he probably saw more of Tampa's triple threats -- Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards -- than he cares to admit. "The big thing is their work ethic," Maurice said. "You won't see them play soft."


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