Dan Daoust and Mike Pelyk were packing up their skates yesterday when Daoust almost started to reminisce about his days as a rookie on the 1982-83 Montreal Canadiens.
The occasion was an alumni game on a temporary rink on Yonge St. south of Yonge-Dundas Square, where Leafs alumni handily defeated a team iced by corporate sponsor Smirnoff Ice.
Later, most of them headed over to the Air Canada Centre to catch the Leafs home opener last night against the Habs, Daoust's first NHL employer before he found his form with the Maple Leafs throughout the '80s.
"I think the Leafs are gonna do good this year," Daoust said after the alumni game. "They're going against my old team."
At which point Pelyk lit up like a goal light.
"Come on! Your old team! Give us a break, will ya?"
Daoust did play for the Habs after a stellar junior career -- even though it was just four games.
But he wasn't about to sit back and take Pelyk's ribbing.
"I've only played for two teams!" Daoust said. "How many have you played for, Suitcase?"
(Pelyk played his NHL career with the Leafs but dabbled in other pro leagues for the Vancouver Blazers, Cincinnati Stingers, Dallas Black Hawks and Tulsa Oilers.)
"How many games did you play for Montreal?" Pelyk shot back. "Four hundred, or was it four?"
"Four!" Daoust laughed. "It's still my old team. Four."
With the two former Leafs reduced to laughter, Daoust was asked who he'd be rooting for last night.
"Well, I guess Toronto paid me more money, so I guess I gotta go for them," Daoust joked. "Even though I was born in Montreal and raised in Montreal, I'll go with Toronto."
The handful of former Leafs, including centre Bill Derlago -- who scored about six goals yesterday, although nobody was really keeping count -- each figured the revamped Leafs under new GM Brian Burke would fare better this season. "I think they'll play .500 hockey until Christmas and then they'll turn it on after Christmas," Derlago said.
"I think the Leafs will make the playoffs this year," Pelyk said. "I think they're going to be a big surprise in the league."