Captain and the kid

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

The captain always gets control of the television clicker.

It's an unofficial rule of training camp, one young Alexander Steen quickly has learned during his brief stint as Mats Sundin's roommate.

"He's had it most of the time," Steen, 21, said yesterday. "I think the older guys usually get that option."

Older guys? Talk like that will get you in hot water, rookie.

Besides, Sundin, 34, is the type of chap who doesn't mind sharing. Just ask him.

"So far I've had (the clicker) but he can have it any time he wants," Sundin said before he and Steen broke into laughter.

That was the scene at Ricoh Coliseum yesterday. There they were, The Captain and The Kid, standing together in a corridor, sharing a few yuks.

The Leafs hope for the present tutoring the team's hope for the future.

It seems like the perfect match.

With Steen -- the Leafs' first pick in the 2002 entry draft, considered to be one of the organization's brightest prospects -- who better to serve as his mentor than the Toronto captain, a player young Alexander idolized growing up as a child?

"Alexander has played at the elite level for a few years now," Sundin said, acknowledging Steen's accomplishments in the Swedish elite league. "He knows what it takes to prepare for games and how to get ready.

"Besides, it's nice to have a guy around who speaks my native tongue. I'm sure he's enjoyed it too."

During his formative years, Sundin would watch Alexander's father, Thomas Steen, play for the Winnipeg Jets. The two would go on to be teammates in an international tournament years later.

Alexander, meanwhile, was about nine years old when he first met Sundin.

"It was at my dad's hockey school in Sweden," Steen said. "We had a group of 20-25 guys, and Mats came to visit. He skated with us. It was a huge deal."

Now Steen is living with Sundin -- albeit temporarily -- while the team stays at a downtown Toronto hotel during training camp.

"We've talked a little bit, just mostly how we've been doing," Steen said."He's a great guy, a funny guy. It has been real fun.

"He's always been a big player for me. He and Peter (Forsberg) are huge back home. It's unbelievable to be here with him and guys like Tie Domi, Jason Allison and Jeff O'Neill.

"He definitely makes it more comfortable for me. He's a calm person and definitely calms you down, too. I see why he is so important to this team."

While Steen played centre during a scrimmage yesterday, he might be forced to shift to the wing because of the team's glut of bodies up the middle. It's the same positional move he made last season while playing for Modo in Sweden, one he doesn't mind doing again if asked.

While the Leafs don't want to push him to the NHL level too soon, The Kid is making a good impression.

There has even been speculation that he might one day find himself on The Captain's wing.

Should it play out that way, at least Steen will be familiar with Sundin's tendencies.

"I used to play his team in video games, and his man was good," Steen said, grinning broadly.

Having said that, will Steen be allowed to play video games in the hotel room in the next week or so?

Check with the captain. He has the clicker.


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