There was quite a sideshow at Lakeshore Lions Arena yesterday, right after the Maple Leafs finished practising.
Former Leaf and Rogers Sportsnet hockey analyst Nick Kypreos took 10 shots on Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun in a televised shootout. The bet was, if Zaun saved any of Kypreos' shots, the veteran catcher got a night in the Leafs alumni room for a game. If Kypreos scored on all 10, he got Jays tickets.
"He got me," Kypreos said, after Zaun made a glove save on one of the shots. "But it ain't over by a long shot."
Kypreos has agreed to try his hand at batting practice next season, perhaps with Zaun pitching, perhaps not.
"I'll get (Roy) Halladay," said Zaun, who enjoyed the experience so much that he plans to buy a pair of goalie skates.
"It was awkward, but I just have to learn how to skate." Zaun said.
Leafs goaltender Curtis Joseph provided the equipment for Zaun, offered some coaching advice before and during the shootout, and even warmed the catcher up, with some blistering slap shots from the blue line.
"Hey, I never played goalie as a kid growing up, in road hockey or anything," Joseph said, when asked about his shot.
Rogers Sportsnet will air the shootout on Hockey Central today at 6 p.m.
Leafs head coach Ron Wilson was irked with suggestions that his 4-3-3 club is playing over its heads and may actually earn a playoff spot.
"We've played 10 games and already people are mentioning the P word. I think it's way too premature for talk like that," he said. "We just want to focus on making ourselves better every day. A major hurdle for us is not to listen to any of this talk, and to stay within our game and stay within the system."
Wilson said the team is concentrating on using its speed, on puck movement, the forecheck, and playing in its own end.
"Those are the things that I was brought here to do, and the players are seeing that if they do all these things, we can be a decent team," he said.
CHANGES IN THE WORKS
Wilson said he may play backup goaltender Curtis Joseph in one of the back-to-back games this weekend, either tonight against the New York Rangers, or tomorrow in Carolina.
"I'd kind of like to get him in a game, but Tosk is in a bit of a rhythm, we're on a bit of a roll and I don't want to screw around with that too much," he said, adding that he may add some fresh legs on defence, perhaps Carlo Colaiacovo, who has been a healthy scratch for the last five games.