May's divine day

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

On the eve of his 1,000th game, Brad May put the milestone in perspective for rookie teammate Luke Schenn.

"He told me that one day he's going to build a house," Schenn said, "and (wallpaper) it with all the x-rays he's had in his career."

May attributed last night's milestone to taking care of business -- on and off the ice -- and hoped he could play beyond game No. 1,001 when Toronto's season ends on Saturday.

"Part of the reason is being a good teammate as well as a good player," May said of his staying power.

"The people change year to year, but you've got to know the pecking order and stay with it. You think about the trainers and all the other people you meet. On the bad days, there is always someone in the dressing room who will make you feel better.

"No question I made mistakes along the way (a 20-game suspension for high-sticking and helping light the fuse that led to Todd Bertuzzi's hit on Steve Moore), but it's part of growing up."

May listed Bertuzzi, Pat LaFontaine and Joe Sakic as some of the influential people in his career. The 37-year-old began playing in 1991 with the Buffalo Sabres and would eventually see six NHL teams before coming home to the GTA and the Leafs.

Coach Ron Wilson paid tribute to May for enduring most of his 1,000 games as a banger after a couple of seasons of 40-plus points. May had four shoulder surgeries and a few knee operations along the way.

"To survive that is amazing," Wilson said, adding that his influence on the younger Leafs since joining the team at mid-season has been a positive.

A media member drew laughs from May by producing a draft-day picture from 1990, complete with a mullet.

Owen Nolan, Jaromir Jagr, Keith Tkachuk, Darryl Sydor and Martin Brodeur remain the other first rounders still active from that year.

May is the 243rd NHLer to play in 1,000 games and the 21st to do it as a Leaf.

"If you get caught looking at the future, you won't do the appropriate things to stay," May said. "My biggest day was my first game (scoring against Pittsburgh on his first shot), then my 100th game took me from a two-way contract to a one-way and my 400th changed my pension status. I'd like to keep playing."

A pre-game ceremony honoured May. His immediate family flew in from Anaheim, others came from the GTA and the famous tape of Sabres announcer Rick Jeanneret's 'May Day!, May Day!, May Day!' from May's 1993 playoff goal against the Boston Bruins was played.

"Rick was amazing to me," May said. "He was one of the first to do radio and TV simulcasts. People in Buffalo had been turning down the TV to listen to Rick on the radio."


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