The only thing that could have been more painful than watching the lifeless Maple Leafs fall to Nashville Tuesday night would have been to have watched the first period tribute to Wade Belak. Fortunately, TV audiences were spared and only those at the ACC had to endure it. For those who had lost track of Belak, after being traded to Florida last season he was put on waivers this season and picked up recently by Nashville. Since trading Belak on November 27, the Panthers are 12-5-4.
I can’t imagine a player less deserving of a tribute than Belak – player of limited skill who could not play more than two consecutive shifts without taking a penalty. In his 6 seasons with the Leafs he scored a total of 7 goals and 24 points. He did play 318 games for the Leafs, usually fewer than 5 minutes per game. What stands out most during his tenure with the Leafs was the number of games he sat out - almost 30 games per season. Any video tribute should have included shots of Belak in civvies sitting in the press box.