Leafs feel well-armed in toughness

Leo Komarov, drilling Alexei Ponikarovsky into the Devils bench, is among the NHL leader in hits...

Leo Komarov, drilling Alexei Ponikarovsky into the Devils bench, is among the NHL leader in hits and a reason why the Leafs are a much tougher team this season. (Reuters)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:32 PM ET

Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf called it a man’s game, echoing the term used by coach Randy Carlyle a few weeks earlier.

Various Bruins players tipped their hats to the spine their divisional rivals seem to have added to their game, and not just in the form of leading the league in hits and fighting majors.

In other words, these are no longer Ron Wilson’s Maple Leafs.

It has taken a training camp and half of a shortened season, but the Leafs are firmly subscribed to the Randy Carlyle style of play, a gritty approach that the players feel has them equipped to challenge both the best and the toughest teams in the league.


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