Quinn likes M&Ms

MIKE ZEISBERGER and LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Just call it the M&M line.

When Maple Leafs training camp opens next week, one of coach Pat Quinn's proposed experiments will be to pair captain Mats Sundin and potential newcomer Mariusz Czerkawski on the same unit.

The two players may have very well gained some informal on-ice chemistry in Stockholm the past 10 months while working out with Djurgarden, Sundin's former team in the Swedish elite league.

Czerkawski scored 15 goals and added nine assists in 46 games with Djurgarden last season. Sundin, meanwhile, turned down Djurgarden's offer to play but did practice with the squad during the lockout.

"Now that we have Czerkawski in the mix, trying him with Mats might work," Quinn said yesterday. "Initially I thought (Jeff) O'Neill might be the right guy to play with Mats. Now it's Czerkawski."

Quinn was quick to point out that nothing is etched in stone.

"(Mariusz) has good offensive flair with good hands and quickness," he said. "And, obviously, skating is one of his great attributes. He certainly has that."

Who might be the third member of the line as part of Quinn's tinkering?

"(Nik) Antropov could be a possibility, even Tucks," Quinn said, referring to Darcy Tucker. "You are just trying to find guys to complement each other. Steve Thomas and Mats clicked well together when I first got here but, on the other hand, putting Alex Mogilny and Mats together never really worked out the past few years."

Czerkawski reportedly has agreed in principle to a one-year, $500,000 US deal, pending the results of his medical testing.

Meanwhile, Sportsnet reported last night that Leafs general manager John Ferguson has extended an invitation to veteran forward Mike Keane to attend training camp, which kicks off with medicals on Monday. The network reported that Lewis Gross, who represents the defensive specialist, confirmed the two sides have been chatting.

Keane and Ferguson grew up and played minor hockey together in Winnipeg.

"There have been ongoing discussions with a number of players," Ferguson said last night. "He is (one of) a number of options with people we're exploring. But as always, it's subject to other deals we're considering."

Whether Keane opts to report without a contract offer remains to be seen, but his decision likely won't alter Quinn's plan for training camp. Players in attendance are expected to be split up into three teams led by Sundin, Eric Lindros and Jason Allison, respectively.

Don't be surprised if 2002 first-round draft pick Alexander Steen gets a shot at camp to play alongside Sundin, too, even if it is just for a few practices.


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