Full StoryAntropov finally gets respect from fans
11/12/2006 4:02:05 PM
TORONTO (CP) - The home fans have been known to cheer before games after hearing Nik Antropov's name announced as one of the players not in the lineup for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It's been a common occurrence over the years because the 25-year-old has missed long stretches with a variety of injuries since his NHL debut with the team in October 1999.
Antropov is the third-longest serving Leaf and easily the one who has most consistently been disrespected - both at home and around the league.
But big No. 80 is starting to show signs of coming into his own. After missing most of the first month with an ankle injury, Antropov has four goals in eight games and is a plus-5 in the two games Toronto has played without injured captain Mats Sundin.
He's even starting to get some support from the fans at Air Canada Centre.
"It's always nice to hear them on my side," he said Saturday after scoring a goal in Toronto's 5-1 win over Montreal. "But as long as (the) team is winning, that's the most important thing."
Well, I'll have to put it this way for now: Respect is earned, and right now he's earning it.
Hopefully he continues to thrive under Coach Maurice and he avoids having too many injuries this year.
Antropov doesn't exactly have me on his bandwagon yet, since he has already shown that he can play in the league many times before. How consistently he can do so is usually the concern. However, if he can get 60+ games in and continue to play with the same grit and determination that he's been playing with so far, than I can't complain.
Here's also what I think is an interesting stat in the article as well:
Nice. If Alex Steen can finally get going on the scoresheet, the team can only get better.Toronto currently has eight players with at least 12 points, which is more depth than any other NHL team can boast.