Hey Leafs, smarten up!

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:26 AM ET

 Pat Quinn's weary band of Maple Leafs had a day off yesterday, and while the Toronto coach hoped his players would benefit from an opportunity to give their brains and bodies a rest, he didn't want to completely let them off the hook.

 The Leafs returned to Toronto late Thursday night after losing 3-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-final, and Quinn told his players to stay away from the rink en masse for the first time since April 4. The Leafs will practise today at the Air Canada Centre before returning to Philadelphia for Game 2 tomorrow night.

  During a conference call with the media, Quinn touched on a number of issues, but one theme rang clear: He expects his club to be smarter tomorrow night.

 "We have to work a little harder to establish and protect our position (in front of goalie Ed Belfour)," Quinn said. "That is part will-power and is a learned thing.

 "Two of (the Flyers) goals and two other chances came off our defensive zone play -- two goals from lost plays in our zone. I don't think we can continue to have that happen. A big part of that is being firmer on one-on-one battles."

 Quinn made a further point about the importance for his players to be determined with the skills they have.

 When he was asked if he was referring to defenceman Tomas Kaberle, who let Tony Amonte go for the Flyers' first goal on Thursday, Quinn said: "Take what you want out of it."

 While many of the Leafs ventured out of their homes yesterday to get treatment on their various hurts, Quinn wanted them to savour the off-day. Unlike the first round against the Ottawa Senators, when the teams played every other night, there are a pair of two-day breaks. That might be what the Leafs need to help them over the hump during the latter half of the series.

 "It's something that allows some physical rest and bruises to heal," Quinn said. "The mental rest, you need that, too. Trying to be on top of your game every second night takes a toll. We needed the rest."

 Quinn shot down a published report that captain Mats Sundin might be back in for Game 2 after missing the past four games with a leg injury, saying Sundin had a "remote" chance of playing.

 In Game 1, Quinn had feisty Clarke Wilm in rookie Matt Stajan's spot up front. But whether Quinn goes with the same lineup that lost that match remains to be seen.

 "I don't know yet," Quinn said. "We'll be analyzing that."

 When it was suggested that someone such as 6-foot-5, 221-pound Wade Belak, who has not skated in a game since March 20, be inserted to help combat the Flyers' force in close proximity to Belfour, Quinn was not so sure.

 "Possibly," Quinn said. "But just putting in a big body doesn't necessarily make the situation better.

 "They've got two or three very big fellows and they play big. To me, it's their discipline that is their biggest asset."


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