It's Stumpy's turn

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Bryan Marchment gingerly waddled around the Maple Leafs dressing room Sunday night, the ice packs wrapped around his feet serving as reminders of his painful penchant for blocking shots.

"Hey Mushy, you look in mid-season form," one of his teammates quipped to the hobbling defenceman after the 5-2 pre-season loss to the Ottawa Senators.

Whatever it takes, he replied.

Both Marchment, 36, and Steve Thomas, 41, are in camp on tryout invites, attempting to beat the odds and make the team.

In other words, just one final kick at the can for the Maple Leafs' "Old Boys Club."

And while Marchment already has had a taste of exhibition play, Thomas, an overwhelming fan favourite since the beginning of camp, sees his first pre-season action tonight when the Leafs meet the Boston Bruins at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.

"One of Bryan's major assets is his ability to compete," coach Pat Quinn said. "It's no surprise he showed that sort of competitiveness.

"The bad thing is, when you are trying to look at the assets of people, a lot of times you specifically are looking for heart. Here are two people in Steve and Bryan who have had that very thing for a long time. Now you are looking to see if the skill level has diminished to the point that such heart can not make up for it.

"The bottom line is, we don't know that yet. We'll see how that goes."

Looking for his third career stint in Maple Leaf blue and white, Thomas easily elicited the loudest cheers from those who attended team scrimmages at Ricoh Coliseum last week.

"If I start out making back passes and blind passes, well, that's not my game at all," Thomas said. "I have to go into the corner, muck it out, and get the puck to someone in front of the front the net.

"That's the game I have to play. I can't play the Mario Lemieux game. I'm Steve Thomas.

"I just want to show them that I can play still."


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