Marchment not in plans

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

The Maple Leafs old guard took a hit yesterday, while it's certain some of the young guns won't survive this weekend's back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings.

Defenceman Bryan Marchment, who along with right winger Steve Thomas was trying to return to the Leafs as a walk-on, learned yesterday that the club would not offer him a contract. That dropped the roster to 30 with a cast including the 42-year-old Thomas and kids Kyle Wellwood, Carlo Colaiacovo, Staffan Kronwall and Andy Wozniewski.

"They called Bryan in for a status report today and a contract is not being offered at this time," Marchment's agent Rick Curran said. "He is still very interested in continuing his career in Toronto. We've had some contact with other teams, but he will take a week or so to decide his future."

Marchment also has been sidelined because of a throat infection for the past few days.

"These games are very important," Colaiacovo said. "They're probably going to be the games that determine where I'm going to play this year. I hope to get in one, maybe two and make the most of the opportunity."

Marchment, 36, had fared better than expected in four exhibition games under the new strict National Hockey League rules on obstruction, but still ranks behind most of the defence from last year and newcomer Alexander Khavanov.

Thomas, meanwhile, has a tenuous hold on a spot and will have to really impress coach Pat Quinn and general manager John Ferguson this weekend.

But don't expect seven outright cuts after Saturday to get down to the maximum roster of 23 players. There are still a number of players with question marks on their back because of injuries, with Quinn saying yesterday that it's doubtful Ken Klee (heel) will be in the lineup for the season opener against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

Eric Lindros and Jason Allison (muscle pulls) are questionable for the Detroit series, though Allison hopes to play in the finale here tomorrow.

"It would be nice for the last game of the season at least to have our full lineup," captain Mats Sundin said.

One of the most excited players in the dressing room yesterday was Wellwood, who anticipated playing in front of family and friends from Windsor tonight at the Joe Louis Arena. Going into last night, Wellwood was one of four freshmen to be tied or leading his club in pre-season scoring, along with Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim), Thomas Vanek (Buffalo) and Zach Parise (New Jersey).

Quinn has hinted he might try Wellwood at centre with Alex Steen, who is expected to make the team easily and Matt Stajan, another youngster.

Colaiacovo also hopes to be loose this weekend and not let the pressure of the situation make him too conservative or reckless.

"I'm not going to put myself in situations I'm not familiar with and just play to my strengths," he said. "The spots are there and this is the time of year when guys are supposed to take advantage of that."

It will also be a chance for another rookie, Staffan Kronwall, to re-assert himself after his good start at camp began to wane during the exhibition games. Like Steen, the spindly Kronwall is just off the boat from Sweden.


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