Blake basks in spotlight

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

As Jason Blake made a round of one-on-one interviews following his first in-person media scrum as a member of the Maple Leafs yesterday, his wife Sara stood nearby, comforting the couple's five-month-old daughter, Annabelle.

"Jason lives hockey and this is what he loves to do," Sara Blake said.

"I'm not worried at all. He always has done really well with the media."

There's no denying that Blake, who signed a five-year, $20-million US contract on July 1, said all the right things in his first go-round with Toronto reporters.

It's part of the process athletes put themselves through whenever they become new members of teams.

"This just shows I'm in the centre of hockey, right here in Toronto," Blake said as he was surrounded by the media. "This is what I have wanted all my life. I was fortunate it came true.

"This is the one place I wanted to play. I'm fortunate it came true."

The Blakes, who have three children, have been in Toronto since Monday and have found a house. But Leafs fans won't much care about Blake's comfort level as long as he continues to produce at the clip he established as a New York Islander. Blake had a career-high 40 goals last season after scoring 28 in 2005-06.

Blake said "he would love to get a chance to play with Mats (Sundin)"and it's hard to imagine another option for Leafs coach PaulMaurice. Blake was not signed so Maurice could continue saddling Sundin with Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky, who have come along but are not yet full-time, first-line material.

But Blake, a speedster who does not mind putting his stick where it doesn't belong if the situation arises, would not guarantee he would match 40 goals.

"Everyone talks about the 40 goals last year, can I repeat that," said Blake, who will turn 34 on Sept. 2.

"I'm not going to sit there and say, 'yeah' because I don't know. Playing with a guy like Mats is going to help, if that's the way it goes."

Blake spoke on Wednesday to Darcy Tucker, and was appreciative that Tucker welcomed him to the organization. Blake is from the same mould as Tucker -- they're both smallish players whose hearts are a major reason they've had success in the NHL.

Blake, listed at 5-foot-10, was asked his true height.

"Six-two," Blake said, drawing laughs. "No, five-nine. When you're 5-foot-9 you got to find ways to survive. For me, I found a way."


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