Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Leafs Winger David Booth Sets a Simple Goal: 'Staying Healthy'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Leafs Winger David Booth Sets a Simple Goal: 'Staying Healthy'

Article excerpt

New Leaf Booth sets goal of 'staying healthy'

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TORONTO - David Booth still fondly remembers his first NHL training camp out of college and the relaxing lack of expectations. He went on to play 48 games his rookie season for the Florida Panthers and not long after developed into a 30-goal scorer.

Eight years later, Booth doesn't want to set expectations for himself going into camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Well, except for one.

"Staying healthy," he said. "This is my first summer in a while that I've been able to stay healthy and train hard and have a good training camp. That's the first goal."

Health hasn't been on Booth's side, dating to a concussion he received from a hit by Mike Richards in Oct. 2009. Since, he missed over a month with a knee injury in 2011, was limited to 12 games in 2013 because of an ankle problem and dealt with groin injuries last season.

"We were going over our medicals (Thursday) and the doctors were just like, 'Man, you've had a lot of bad luck,' " Booth said Friday. "Breaking a knee, breaking an ankle, groin injuries, those are things that happen with the game.

"It's not like you can do anything to prevent those. Just getting warm to make sure you're reacting well to the game might be able to prevent it, but there's no way around that stuff."

Injuries and decreased production as a result led to the Vancouver Canucks buying Booth out of the final season of his US$25.5-million, six-year contract. After 87 goals and 80 assists in 309 games with the Panthers, the winger managed just 26 goals and 25 assists in 134 games for the Canucks.

On the books to make $4.75 million before the buyout, Booth signed a $1.1-million, one-year deal with the Leafs to prove himself again. With 10 players on one-way contracts competing for seven or eight spots on the roster, the Detroit native knows "there's no guarantees."

With health his priority, Booth doesn't want to set too many goals too far in the future.

"You can't look at December or January and start to worry about that," he said. "I think it starts with a good training camp and having a productive first couple of weeks."

To start, Booth could get a look alongside former Panthers and Canucks teammate Mike Santorelli. …

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