Leafs hold off planning Stanley Cup parade

(Sun Photo/Stan Behal)

(Sun Photo/Stan Behal)

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:36 PM ET

TORONTO -- As he made his way up the Air Canada Centre stands to watch the Maple Leafs practise yesterday, general manager Cliff Fletcher was asked about Toronto's rather shocking opening-night win over the Detroit Red Wings Thursday.

"Not bad, eh?" Fletcher said.

"I guess you expect your team to go 82-0 now," a journalist quipped. "Absolutely," Fletcher said, with a laugh.

The mood inside the Leafs dressing room yesterday was almost euphoric, although the players weren't necessarily the ones bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm.

A few players, including veteran defenceman Mike Van Ryn, made it a point to stress that the Leafs will only earn wins when they stick to the defensive and forechecking system implemented by coach Ron Wilson, and if they outwork the opposition, as they did in Motown.

"It was the first game," Van Ryn said. "The tendency is to jump to conclusions, but it's only one game. Definitely, we're excited about it, but the past is the past."

The Leafs open their home schedule tonight against the quick and talent-laden Montreal Canadiens, who are probably faster than the Leafs.

"When you have speed, you can make up for mistakes of aggressiveness up the ice. If you get caught, you can catch people from behind, and shorten up the rink a little bit," Wilson said.

Four Leafs (Luke Schenn, Jonas Frogren, John Mitchell and Nikolai Kulemin) are making their NHL home debuts, with the added pressure of facing the archrival Canadiens.

Wilson said the first period will be the key for the Leafs vs. the Habs (7 p.m., CBC/RDS).

"You just have to weather whatever storm we get in the first period," he said. "I'm sure their hearts will be beating hard (tonight). But we just can't stand around and look fearful."\


Videos

Photos