Eagle looks to Russia

LANCE HORNBY and MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

Ed Belfour is hearing those Russian balalaikas.

Ron Salcer, the agent for the star Maple Leafs goaltender, says his client has shifted his focus to signing with one of two Russian clubs after talks with an unknown Swedish team did not result in a deal prior to that country's final transfer window closing on Monday.

"Ed's looking at an opportunity in Russia," Salcer said without revealing the teams. "We should know in a couple of days."

The Russian League can take new players up to this Thursday, though Salcer said Belfour was not using his goaltending guru, Vladislav Tretiak, as a go-between in talks.

"Ed has been talking to him over the past while, but Tretiak is not involved in this decision," Salcer said.

HEAD GAMES

St. John's goaltender Mikael Tellqvist will be sidelined at least a week after suffering his second concussion of the season.

It's just another chapter in the goaltending woes of the Baby Leafs, who lost J.S. Aubin last week with a knee injury. With another goaltender, J.F. Racine, poised to leave the team at any time to attend the birth of his first child, the Leafs called up Todd Ford from Pensacola of the ECHL and signed another ECHLer, Matt Underhill, to a tryout contract.

RAH RAH 'SHWA

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. has successfully bid to manage a proposed new $40-million arena in downtown Oshawa.

The 5,400-seat rink, slated to be built at Mary and Athol Sts., is part of a downtown renewal project, which is still about a month away from getting civic approval. MLSEL vice-president Bob Hunter stressed that his company's involvement wouldn't be connected to MLSEL's plan for a new $10-million practice rink/high-performance training centre.

"This is a new line of business for us," Hunter said. "We're looking for facilities to manage in the GTA, specifically connected to Ontario Hockey League rinks. We honestly believe we can do it better than anyone else."

But the rink, which would replace the aging Civic Auditorium home of the OHL Generals, is being opposed by a coalition of politicians and citizens, including former Oshawa Mayor Nancy Diamond, ex- Maple Leaf Gardens director Terry Kelly and CUPE President Sid Ryan.

They don't like the location or the use of taxpayers' money in the funding.


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