Timeless classics

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

No, aging vets Steve Thomas and Bryan Marchment did not need the wheelchair ramp to make their way into Ricoh Coliseum yesterday.

But that didn't stop a number of sarcastic Leafs from suggesting as much to this pair of NHL greybeards, who are in camp on tryout invites forwarded by Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson.

Marchment, like Thomas, might not have a contract, but at least he still has his sense of humour.

"In the worst case scenario, at least I'm getting some free ice time," Marchment said, igniting waves of laughter through the scrum of reporters surrounding him.

Asked if the new crackdown on obstruction would significantly hinder his rugged style, Marchment continued his standup routine.

"If you look in the past, I don't have too many hooking or obstruction calls. Most of mine are bad shoulders, bad something ...," said one of the NHL's resident bad boys.

Marchment, 36, faces an uphill climb in his attempt to make the team.

Bryan McCabe,Tomas Kaberle, Ken Klee, Aki Berg and Alexander Khavanov are shoo-ins on the blue line, while youngsters Carlo Colaiacovo, Brendan Bell, Ian White, Jay Harrison and Staffan Kronwall will get long looks from the Leafs' brass.

"Whether I had a contract 10 years ago or three years ago I've always fought for my position," Marchment said.

"Nothing's going to change.

"All I can do is go out, work hard, have fun and do things I've always done to be successful. The rest is up to the coaching staff."

Thomas, 42, is attempting to earn his third stint with the blue and white. He started his career with the Leafs from 1984-87, then returned to the Pat Quinn-led team for a stint that lasted from 1998-01.

"(The first time) I tried out for a team was for the Toronto Marlboros Jr. A team," Thomas said. "That was the start of my serious hockey. So I guess it's fitting that I have to try out in my last year of competitive hockey, too

"I'm truly excited. This the only place I want to play. Hopefully I can do this ... in my mind I know I can."

Thomas has a game plan he hopes will sway Quinn and his assistant coaches.

"I am going to go out there, work hard, go up and down my wing, play the body a little bit and chip in a few goals," the veteran said.

SOMETHING LEFT

"I'm 42 years old. People would like to say their best days have gone by, but I personally would like to say I still have something left in the tank. I still have competitive juices going.

"I've been given a great opportunity. I've enjoyed Toronto my whole life and this is just another one. Ultimately, whatever happens here is up to me."


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