Centre Questions Linger As Leaf Camp Gets Rolling
by Mike Ball
September 13, 2005
(TORONTO) -- After a day of off-ice testing and on-ice conditioning Monday, the Toronto Maple Leafs got training camp into full swing Tuesday as they opened the doors of Ricoh Coliseum to the general public and started the real work with on-ice drills and daily scrimmages.
No less than 62 players are in Leafs camp and with players like Bryan Marchment and Steve Thomas still vying for spots, there should be plenty of healthy competition all-week as Pat Quinn and John Ferguson look to make their final roster decisions.Mats Sundin ran through drills on a line with Darcy Tucker and Nik Antropov on the wings, but it's a little early to count on those three starting the season together.
""We'll see what the coaches want to try,"" said Sundin after the skate. ""I'm sure they'll try different combinations as the exhibition season starts here, but I think we all have to be flexible and I think everybody realizes that there's only four spots here for centres and we'll have to figure out who's going to skate with who.""
However when Sundin was asked about a possible move to the wing, the big Swede said he'd be willing to give anything a try, but he made it pretty clear where his preference lies.
""I think you're more involved in the game when you play centre. I like to play down in our end and I like to get the puck earlier in the play,"" said Sundin. ""I just feel you're more involved in the play when you're in the middle.""For training camp purposes, the roster has been split into three squads with two of the three facing off each day with a scrimmage to close out the on-ice training.
Team B, which sported the likes of Jeff O'Neill, Bryan McCabe, Matt Stajan and Aki Berg, defeated Team C made up of players including Eric Lindros, Steve Thomas and Kyle Wellwood in a shootout, with no overtime being played.
O'Neill and John Mitchell scored for Team B and Kris Newbury and Colin Murphy tallied goals for Team C.
In the shootout, O'Neill beat J.F. Racine after 2004 top draft pick Justin Pogge stopped Lindros to open the extra frame.
Pogge would then go on to stone both Steve Thomas and Kyle Wellwood, while at the other end Matt Stajan was stopped by Racine.
Workouts and scrimmages continue all week at Ricoh and Leafs Nation is encouraged to come down to the rink, free of charge, and see the Blue and White shake the rust off and get ready for the 2005-06 season with the Leafs!