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Blake a healthy scratch as Leafs visit Bruins on TSN

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The Sports Network/TSN.ca
10/23/2008 1:42:51 PM
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Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Blake will find himself in an unusual place when the team faces the Boston Bruins tonight on TSN, the press box.

For the first time in his Leafs' career, Blake will be a healthy scratch for the game.  Blake, played in all 82-games last season despite under-going cancer treatment.

The 35-year old, who leads the Leafs with 24 shots on goal, but only has one goal and two assists in six games this season, was demoted to the fourth line during the second and third period of the Leafs 3-2 shootout loss the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

"I have to break through some of the mindset that's been here after three seasons of not making the playoffs," coach Ron Wilson said on Wednesday. "It might be unorthodox, but the players will start to understand that I'm serious about entitlement.

"You don't have a right to play, because someone in the media likes you or you have a fan club. That's irrelevant from my point of view. It's the results you produce on the ice. And not enough of guys have produced to even have that sense of entitlement."

Winger Ryan Hollweg, who missed the last three games because of a suspension will return to the lineup and skated with the line of Jamal Mayers and John Mitchell during Thursday's skate.

Winless in Five

The Maple Leafs began the season with a road victory over Detroit, the defending Stanley Cup champions, but have since gone 0-2-3. Toronto has been outscored 19-8 during the slide and is now in danger of dropping six straight tests for the first time since a seven-game slide from November 25-December 9, 2006.

Vesa Toskala yielded two goals on 21 shots through three periods and the extra session during Tuesday's loss, but was curiously pulled for Joseph before the shootout began. Head coach Ron Wilson said after the game that Toskala needs "a little more practice on shootouts".

After tonight's road tilt, the Leafs will return to Ontario for a two-game homestand. Toronto is 1-1-1 as the visiting team so far this season.

The Bruins are also coming off a 3-2 shootout loss as Thomas Vanek notched the deciding tally in the final segment this past Tuesday in Buffalo.

Vanek's goal in the fifth round of the shootout put Buffalo on top, and Ryan Miller's save of a Marc Savard shot clinched the win for the Sabres.

Dennis Wideman and Phil Kessel scored for Boston, which has lost two straight and four of its last five tests. Manny Fernandez had 28 saves for the Bruins.

Tonight marks the first of two straight games at home for the Bruins, who had their home opener Monday against Pittsburgh and were handed a shootout loss.

Boston has won two straight and six of the last nine encounters with the Maple Leafs, but Toronto has come out on top in three of its previous five trips to Beantown.

 

Jason Blake (Photo: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
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