Blake's no plumber, just ask him

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

Veteran winger Jason Blake was in good spirits yesterday after practising with the Leafs for the first time in a couple of days.

Blake suffered a concussion when he was hit by Atlanta's Colby Armstrong on Nov. 25 and has since missed the past two games against the Senators and Flyers.

Still, while he was happy to be back skating with the team and hopeful that head coach Ron Wilson will insert him in the lineup tonight when the Leafs face the Kings in Los Angeles, the Moorhead, Minn., native admitted that he has felt beaten down, mentally and physically a lot this season.

"It is tough, it's not very much fun, that's for sure," Blake said. "I sat out in Calgary (Nov. 11, a healthy scratch) and I think since I came back I've been playing the way they want me to play. And then (the concussion). It hasn't been a very fun year so far to this stage, but hopefully I'll play (tonight) and try to get the ball rolling."

Blake loudly expressed his frustrations after being sat in Calgary, but since then has played quite well, on a variety of lines, picking up four points in five games before the hit by Armstrong.

Yesterday, though, he practised again with the so-called scrubs, alongside Ryan Hollweg and Jamal Mayers and didn't take kindly to the suggestion that he might be one of the "plumbers" as new GM Brian Burke described the guys who play on the third and fourth lines. Blake scored 40 goals during the 2006-07 season for the New York Islanders and considers himself a goal scorer, despite popping only 15 in 82 games for the Leafs last season.

"Well, that's not really a fair question," he said, when asked about taking on a plumber's role. "I can't really answer that. I wouldn't call myself a plumber. There's nothing wrong with that. I respect everybody on a hockey team, each guy has their own individual jobs, some are born with more talent than others and some do other jobs better than others. But I don't know."


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