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The Bay Street Bullies - LEAF TALK All talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Old 08-22-2010, 08:13 AM
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Default Greg McKegg: Pro camp a whole other ball game'

Pro camp a whole other ball game'
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Posted By R. MARK BUTTERWICK TIMES-JOURNAL
Posted 19 hours ago


Sept. 9.

That's the day Greg McKegg's quest for a hockey paycheque really begins.

Years of work and all the accolades aside, things get more than serious when the 18-year-old hits training camp for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Not that the game hasn't been serious for the St. Thomas centreman, who last year scored 37 goals for the OHL's Erie Otters.

McKegg's been a hard worker on the ice and in the off-season, but this summer's been a little different.

His selection in the NHL draft not only put a stamp of approval on the six-foot, 197-pounder who put together a six-game goal streak last season with Erie, but also put him in the company of a lot of other players looking to stick on a pro roster.

Raised a Detroit Red Wings fan, McKegg was still smiling when it was Toronto that called his name on draft day.

To go to the Leafs is pretty special, he said. "It's so close to home. You always think about a team like that. Always hear about them. Always watch them, so it's pretty cool."

And it's nice that Maple Leafs games are just up the road for family and friends.

His contact with the club has been minimal to this point.

"I went down for a development camp for a week at the start of July," he said.

"I might go a couple of days next week, but we've got a lot going on with my sister (Britt) leaving (to return to her hockey scholarship at Plattsburgh State University in New York)."

Facing his first NHL camp, McKegg thinks back to his first OHL days.

"It's definitely a little bit more nerve-wracking. I was pretty nervous for my first junior camp, but going to your first pro camp is a whole other ball game. But it's exciting."

McKegg has been working hard through the summer to prepare

"The off-season hasn't been a whole lot different. I've always had a good program here.

"But you see what it's like after development camp and you want to work that much harder.

"I have a little more drive this summer.

"You see what the lifestyle's like and you want to be a part of that.

"I've been focusing more this summer on my training and skating. It's been a packed summer, for sure.

"My size hasn't changed much, but I'm a lot leaner and definitely stronger. That will help."

Though he'll have a focus on his own game, McKegg will also have his eyes open at training camp

"You watch the guys who are already there and try to pattern what they're doing. It got them there, so maybe it will help you. I think you look to those guys to learn stuff from them . . . soak it all in and learn what you can from a guy like Dion Phaneuf, a veteran guy like that."

What McKegg brings to the Leafs is a presence in the offensive zone.

"I find my shot is one of my strengths," he said, "a quick release, and I just have a knack around the net."

Though he's not yet under contract, McKegg noted, "Not a lot of guys have signed yet from the draft. Usually the top picks sign earlier."

McKegg's goal, of course, is to be wearing a maple leaf this season, but he still has junior eligibility remaining and the Otters certainly wouldn't mind getting his 85 points back.

His take on the Leafs at this point?

"(I think Toronto needs) a few more snipers. It looks like they've got a good core of defencemen. I really haven't looked at the roster that closely yet, but a little a firepower up front would help them.

"I think they're going to be a good team this year. Brian Burke is on the right track."

And he's look to become part of the rise in Leafs fortunes.

"I'm looking forward to getting it going."
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:38 AM
Phil Margonis Phil Margonis is offline
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i'm no leafs fan but i like Mckegg. his line with Torquato and Cazzolla was 100% one of the best in the OHL last season
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:31 PM
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Toronto doesn't need more snipers - they've got Caputi now!
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