They'll bond

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

The surviving Maple Leafs will get a two-day getaway to Gravenhurst, north of Toronto, before opening the National Hockey League season against the Ottawa Senators at the Air Canada Centre.

The team plans to leave Sunday after its final exhibition game against the Detroit Red Wings and conduct practices early on Monday and Tuesday morning at the Gravenhurst Centennial Centre. A couple of days of golf are planned in the scenic region.

A trip of this nature is a favourite project of coach Pat Quinn, who has taken the team to similar resorts in Banff, Alta., and West Virginia in the past.

"I think it's a great idea," captain Mats Sundin said.

Baby McCabe

Defenceman Bryan McCabe became a daddy for the first time on Wednesday. His wife Roberta delivered daughter Stevie in Toronto. McCabe is expected to play in one or both of this weekend's games versus Detroit.

Supporting the 'Kaws

Quinn said one of his tasks this year will be to try to get more out of Mariusz Czerkawski, a winger with a great scoring touch, but not a lot of intensity.

"He has to push himself," Quinn said. "He looks like an individual type of player and I want to bring him more into the team fabric."

Preparing for the worst

Much of the Leafs' practice yesterday was built around defending five-on-threes, which the penalty-prone team has stumbled into with increasing regularity in the new zero-tolerance National Hockey League.

"I hope not," Quinn said when asked if he were expecting the worst again tonight in Detroit. "To kill five-on-threes, you have to be lucky and good.

Steen keen on starting

Swedish rookie Alex Steen is getting close to being confirmed as a starting player for the regular season.

"With the new rules it's opening up the game a lot for us young guys," he said.


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