Blake to sit out game

Jason Blake will be a healthy scratch tonight in Boston. (Sun Media/Michael Peake)

Jason Blake will be a healthy scratch tonight in Boston. (Sun Media/Michael Peake)

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:13 PM ET

BOSTON -- He may be a former 40-goal scorer and armed with a fat five-year $20-million US contract, but all that buys Jason Blake tonight is a spot in the TD Banknorth Garden press box.

Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson did the expected after this morning's skate and announced Blake will be a healthy scratch for tonight's contest against the Bruins. Blake will be replaced in the lineup by toughguy Ryan Hollweg, who is coming off a three-game suspension for decking St. Louis rookie Alex Pietreangelo from behind.

"I'm not going to compromise how I coach the team for the wrong reasons," Wilson said this morning when explaining Blake's benching. “He’s not scoring, he’s not back checking, he's not doing this or not doing that (so) we’re going to keep him in the lineup until he catches a lucky break? That's not how I coach.

"Everyone on the team has to understand that if you are not performing up to your ability, if you are not doing certain things that we as coaches expect everbydoy to do, you run the risk of not being in the lineup," Wilson said.

"It's not the end of the world. This is our seventh game. If you are going to get people on their toes, you might as well do it early in the season."

Given his play of late, Wilson said benching Blake was "a fairly simple decision" and that it was important from an integrity standpoint to show the rest of the Leafs that no one on the team is immune to being held accountable.

"He hasn't scored recently," Wilson said of Blake's reputation as one of the few goal scorers on the team even though he scored just 15 last season. "He scored one goal on a power play when the score was 4-0. We've got to get him going and we have to get everybody to buy into a set of principals."

For his part, Blake is grudging in his acceptance of the demotion.

"I thought I played good, maybe not in the last game, but what do you do," Blake said. "There's not much you can do other than work hard and stay positive."

Besides Blake, defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo was also getting the press box treatment, a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game.


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