Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil (25) is taken into the boards by Toronto Maple Leafs' Troy Bodie (40) on Feb. 1, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Troy Bodie didn't have to look at his stats to know he had a good night. That was obvious when Tim Leiweke came into the locker-room to congratulate him.
"He doesn't come in here often," he said of Leiweke, who is the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports&Entertainment and Bodie's father-in-law. "So when he does, you take it."
That two-assist performance against the Philadelphia Flyers was something of a culmination of efforts for Bodie, who was playing in his 16th straight game for the Leafs after spending almost a month in the minors.
The right-winger, who is married to Leiweke's daughter Francesa, played over 15 minutes because he was replacing the injured David Clarkson on Toronto's third line, and he made the most of that chance.
"He's very noticeable," coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's been strong on the forecheck, he's a big strong hockey player. That's the way he is."
Bodie's signing over the summer wasn't heralded as a franchise-altering move and for good reason. The 29-year-old had just six goals and five assists in 107 NHL games for the Anaheim Ducks and Carolina Hurricanes.
Even now, Bodie isn't a star for the Leafs, but amid injuries and plenty of lineup fluctuations, they just need him to be a consistent contributor and he has shown a recent ability to do that.
"Sometimes the game's all about opportunity, whether they're throwing you in there because you're playing well or not or what," Bodie said. "But you just get the opportunities, you try to do something with it."
Bodie's two assists against Philadelphia were well-deserved because he essentially created those goals, first by driving the net before Jake Gardiner scored and later by making a pass and then tapping goaltender Steve Mason's pads enough that the puck went over the line after Mason Raymond's shot.
But his contributions playing between the third and fourth lines went beyond just those goals. Bodie helped create scoring chances and sustained offensive-zone time whether he was playing with Raymond and Peter Holland or Jay McClement and Frazer McLaren.
"It's nice to do something with the opportunity given," Bodie said. "The guys I play with, with Mason and Peter and J-Mac at the end there, we're all hard-working guys. It's nice to get guys like that who do the same things you do—we just get in on the forecheck and just muck around and just let the chips fall where they may."
If Clarkson (pulled muscle in leg) misses any time on the Leafs road trip, which starts Monday night against the Anaheim Ducks, Bodie could continue to see a heavier-than-normal workload. If not, a spot on the fourth line seems to suit him just fine.
Ideally, Bodie would like to make a real impact against one of his former teams because this is something of a homecoming. He had just five goals and three assists in 57 games with the Ducks.
"Going back to California and Anaheim, it'd be nice to get in there and do something," he said. "Shake it up a little bit."
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