Telly still in backup plan

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

Despite a jittery first period against the Ottawa Senators Saturday, Mikael Tellqvist appears to have the inside track for the Maple Leafs' backup goaltender's job.

Asked yesterday if Tellqvist remained the odds-on favourite to win the spot, Leafs coach Pat Quinn replied, "I would say so."

Starter Ed Belfour played the entire game against the Buffalo Sabres last night and is expected to do the same Friday in Detroit. The final opportunity for Tellqvist, J-F Racine and J-S Aubin to see pre-season action might be Saturday against the Wings at the Air Canada Centre.

Aubin, who has missed much of camp with a muscle strain, is expected to return to practice today. In his absence, Racine has turned heads with his fine play.

"The decision has not been made but probably what I might like to do is have (Racine) play a lot of games with the (Toronto) Marlies (of the American Hockey League)," Quinn said. "It might be best place for him right now. Rather than play 15 games here, he could play 50 or 60 with the Marlies."

KLEE EYES OPENER

Defenceman Ken Klee, who missed most of camp with a heel injury, is hoping to be in the lineup for the Leafs' season opener against the Ottawa Senators one week from today.

LOOSE LEAFS

Bryan McCabe was excused in order to attend the expected birth of his first child ... Jeff O'Neill saw a replay of the Tomas Kaberle shot that smacked him in the head Saturday. "It wasn't pretty to watch," O'Neill said. "Fortunately I'll be fine."... Aki Berg returned to action last night after being out with a rib injury.

LEAFS CUT TRIO

The Leafs sent defenceman Jay Harrison and forwards Brad Leeb and John Pohl to the Marlies.


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