Gleason punch 'fresh in Leafs minds'

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:46 PM ET

TORONTO - Tim Gleason might want to keep his head up on Thursday night.

The rugged Carolina Hurricanes defenceman could be a marked man against the Maple Leafs, as it was just last Monday night that Gleason punched Nikolai Kulemin in the face during a 6-4 Hurricanes win in Raleigh, giving the Leafs forward a black eye.

Kulemin had not dropped his gloves, and some Leafs saw it as a sucker punch, even though Kulemin had given Gleason a few shots to the face.

“I would not pass up a hit on him, that’s for sure,” Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur said. “I don’t think anyone will, after what he did.”

But the Leafs don’t want to be dumb when it comes to retribution.

“It’s a fine line,” MacArthur said. “The main thing is not Gleason. It’s the two points for us. We would like to get some good licks on him, but we would like to win the game first.”

That sentiment was shared in the Leafs dressing room after practice on Wednesday. Kulemin didn’t miss a game after he was popped, but still sports the hallmarks of a black eye. Gleason was thrown out of the game for the punch.

“It’s fresh in our minds, and we did not like it,” forward Jay Rosehill said. “But we’re not going to make a point to go out of our way to do something stupid that is going to put the team down. But if you get a chance to rub him out, guys are going to take that chance all night.”

The game at the Air Canada Centre will be the third of four meetings between the teams this season. The final game between the clubs is on March 16 in Raleigh.


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