Kings, unlike Leafs, see the light

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:11 AM ET

If they were brothers living in their parents' basement, one probably would be packing up in the coming months, looking forward to the potential for a strong future, while the other would be staying behind, sitting on the couch with the remote.

The Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs have become bunkmates in the NHL's lowest tier, but at least the Kings can see the light at the top of the stairs. Where Cliff Fletcher inherited a team from John Ferguson that has too much money tied up in underachieving veterans and a prospect cupboard that is rather bare, the Kings' five leading scorers heading into their game last night against the Calgary Flames -- Anze Kopitar, Alexander Frolov, Dustin Brown, Mike Cammalleri and Patrick O'Sullivan -- are 25 or younger.

"This is a difficult spot we're in right now, but we're all learning at the same time," O'Sullivan said over the phone from L.A. "We're improving together and, if we can keep this core together, we can be a strong team in two or three years. We know we can't accept individual success."

One aspect the Kings and Leafs share: Their marquee players -- Rob Blake and Mats Sundin, respectively -- have been involved in trade talk. Though Sundin is set on staying in Toronto, it has been reported that Blake would agree to a swap, but not to an Eastern Conference team.

"It's tough, really hard (that Blake could be traded)," O'Sullivan said.

"But we know it might happen. Rob has been such a great leader here and he has been good for all us. But we know it's part of the business."

THE TWO DONS

Don Waddell and Don Baizley could be among the busiest men in the NHL in the next few days.

Waddell, the Atlanta Thrashers general manager, likely will begin to listen to offers for forward Marian Hossa in earnest with the news that the winger believes there is a "very slim" chance he will sign a new contract before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Hossa is slated to be an unrestricted free agent and Waddell has no interest in losing him for nothing. Hossa has turned his nose at a five-year, $35-million US offer.

Baizley represents Peter Forsberg, and there is speculation the Minnesota Wild has moved on to the Swede's radar. Forsberg is said to be intrigued with the idea of centring Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik, and has a relationship with incoming owner Craig Leipold. If Simon Gagne is going to be out long-term in Philadelphia with a concussion, it could sway Forsberg to sign somewhere else.

ICE CHIPS

Names of several Columbus Blue Jackets, including Sergei Fedorov, Adam Foote and Michael Peca, might be on the lips of GMs when they gather in Florida on Monday for three days of meetings. The Jackets may be going into sell mode and Fedorov has expressed an interest in returning to the Red Wings ... Within the span of two days, St. Louis Blues defenceman Eric Brewer, 28, became the 19th captain in team history, then he and his wife became parents with the birth of their daughter.


Videos

Photos