Maple Leafs Watch

LANCE HORNBY and MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:16 PM ET


 'BEST DAY' IN NOLAN'S RECOVERY

 The two injured Toronto forwards remain on the sidelines, though Owen Nolan looked spry in line rushes during yesterday's morning skate. It's possible he could play late in the Eastern Conference semi-final as his right knee ligament damage heals.

 "There haven't been huge strides, but (yesterday) was probably my best day," Nolan said. "There's no timetable. It's all about feel."

 After two days of skating, possibly as a ruse to the Ottawa Senators to distract them in Game 7, Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin was not in the morning workout to test his left leg muscle injury.

 "There has been some progress," coach Pat Quinn said.

 "As we said before, he'll play when he's ready and he's not ready."

 TRAFFIC COPS WANTED

 Quinn was not impressed with the liberties the Philadelphia Flyers took with goalie Ed Belfour during their Eastern Conference quarter-final a year ago.

 "They're going to get traffic in front of the net, that's one of their strengths," Quinn said. "Ottawa did the same thing as the last series went on.

 "(Those tactics) were a sore point with me last year. If they are not going to call that stuff, I don't really know what's going to happen."

 Count on this happening -- Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock will keep sending his forwards into Belfour's face whenever possible.

 ENGLISH LESSONS

 Leafs forward Alexei Ponikarovsky credits Krusty the Klown and his friends for improving his English this year.

 "It comes from watching The Simpsons, Seinfeld, everything," Ponikarovsky said.

 LOOSE LEAFS

 You could tell the snoop-sensitive Leafs had arrived in town yesterday. They had security block off normal access routes near their dressing room, inconveniencing Wachovia Center employees who were trying to prepare for the game ... The Leafs and Flyers' regular-season penalty-killing was separated by one-tenth of a percentage point, 83.4% to 83.3%.

 MAPLE LEAFS INJURIES

 MATS SUNDIN

 Leg, day to day

 OWEN NOLAN

 Right knee, out indefinitely


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