Media circus greets Carcillo in Toronto

Dan Carcillo will be the likely target for Maple Leafs tonight. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

   TORONTO _ Flyers left winger Dan Carcillo smiled shyly as he was surrounded by about two-dozen reporters after Thursday's morning skate in Toronto.

   One question he fielded, over and over, was this: Do you expect retribution Thursday night for what happened the last time you faced the Leafs?

   When the Flyers scored a 6-2 win over the visiting Leafs on Jan. 6, Carcillo scored a goal and celebrated by mocking the Toronto bench. He also gave the throat-slash signal to Toronto assistant Keith Acton and was fined by the NHL $2,500.

     Carcillo downplayed Thursday night's rematch _ and the fact Toronto has recalled enforcer Jay Rosehill from the AHL to face the Flyers.

    "He came up from the minors, and we don't really need to be fighting guys that play three minutes," Carcillo said.

    "We're just going to play hockey and play hard."

      Asked if he had any regrets about what happened in the previous game against the Leafs, Carcillo said: "Maybe not celebrating longer after I scored the goal."

    He later said his throat-slashing gesture was "not very smart on my behalf."

    Carcillo, a low-keyed, soft-spoken sort off the ice, wasn't surprised by all the media attention he received in this hockey-crazed city.

    "Toronto is Toronto. I'm from here, I know how it is," he said. "It's a little ridiculous, but what are you going to do? They need something to talk about."

    A Toronto reporter asked Carcillo: "Are you an angry person?"

   He laughed.

   "I'm a pretty happy guy," he said. "When I get on the ice _ I don't know _ something happens. I just like playing hard. It's the only way it's been since I've been young. Play the game hard, and when you play the way I do, you're bound to have to fight and have to stick up for people."

  Like Carcillo, his teammates downplayed the rematch with the lowly Leafs. 

    "I think almost every game we've played against these guys is physical _ it's the team that wants it more," left winger Scott Hartnell said. "...We're here for the two points. We're not here to beat them up or see how many fights you can have in a game. We're here to get two points; we're rolling now, and that's our main focus."

   "I'm sure it's going to be physical," right winger Arron Asham said. "Everyone here wants to win the game. We're battling for fifth place right now (in the East), and if we win tonight, we're looking at Pittsburgh for fourth. We're coming in like any other game. We're not worried about who they called up or what's going to happen. We're going to come here and play hard; we need to get the two points."

   Another reporter told defenseman Chris Pronger that people in Toronto are calling Carcillo Public Enemy No. 1.

  "Why? What did he do?" Pronger asked.

   "Because of what happened last game," the Toronto reporter said.

   "I'm sorry. What did he do?" Pronger replied, loudly.

   "The way he taunted the Leafs bench," the reporter said.

   "He ANSWERED somebody taunting him," Pronger said, referring to Acton. "So what did he (Carcillo) do" that was wrong?

   The reporter said he expected Carcillo to hear it from the fans Thursday night.

   "He'as a big boy; he knows how to handle it," Pronger said.

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   After the morning practice, coach Peter Laviolette wouldn't say whether tough-guy Riley Cote would be in tonight's lineup. It says here that Cote should remain a healthy scratch. Why break up the chemistry the Flyers' lines have built while on an 8-1-1 surge?