Mike Brown may have a new contract, but he's again fighting an injury after taking a bit hit from Panthers defenceman Keaton Ellerby last night.
That meant Brown wasn't on the ice in practice, but was on hand afterwards to talk about his contract extension, which will pay him an average of just under $740,000 a year through 2013-14.
"Now that I know that I'm going to be here for three years and they have faith in me, I can just concentrate on my game and just step it up," Brown said. "I'm obviously in my prime, I'm going to be getting better every year, so it's good that I'm going to be here. I'm happy. There's no other organization that I'd want to be in at this stage."
"He's worked really hard," coach Ron Wilson said. "I mean he deserves everything he gets. It's too bad he's a little banged up again, but he's a warrior out there, he goes in all the tough areas, fights battles for his teammates, blocks shots. He's been a good little player for us.
"He plays hard every game and you can't ask for more. He's a good skater, he's been a good penalty killer for us and when need be, you can move him up in the lineup, too, because of his skating ability. The fact he finishes every check can ignite your team when he's healthy."
In his first season as a Leaf, Brown's become a fan favourite, but his talents will likely keep him as a 11th or 12th forward who can play the penalty kill and drop the gloves once in a while. He's been a Brian Burke/Dave Nonis guy for a while, having played for both in Vancouver and Anaheim.
"We are extremely pleased to have Mike under contract for the next three years," Burke said in a statement. "His blend of character, energy and toughness has proven to be a good fit in the overall structure and makeup of our team."
- The Carolina Hurricanes are in town for a game tomorrow and given the fireworks last week in Raleigh when these two teams last met, there could be more to come. Clarke MacArthur was asked if the Leafs will be out for retribution against 'Canes defenceman Tim Gleason, who punched out Nikolai Kulemin last week. "I wouldn't pass up a hit on him, that's for sure," MacArthur said. "I don't think anyone's going to tomorrow after what he did. He's a hard-nosed player and we want to play him hard tomorrow."
- Wilson on MacArthur's season: "I didn't know much about him until we got him this year, but he's certainly on my radar [now] He's played well in just about every game. When he's on the ice, there's usually going to be a pretty good scoring opportunity. And he's worked hard in his own end, too. He's been really good at both ends of the rink. The one knock on him coming into this year was lack of consistency, is what I'd heard from other people, but he's been very consistent all year. Good for him that he's played as well as he has."
- Wilson didn't want to reveal who will be in goal against Carolina, but all signs point to James Reimer getting that start. J-S Giguere struggled in a 6-4 loss to the Hurricanes just before the all-star break.
- Defenceman Francois Beauchemin sat the last eight minutes and all of overtime against the Panthers last night, something Wilson said was a result of both his play and some nagging injury issues: "He's a little banged up right now and it's affecting his performance. With other guys I thought playing pretty well we took some icetime away from him. It was a one night thing."