Jean-Sebastien Aubin would love to play hockey in Toronto this season but conversely, he hopes he doesn't clear waivers this week.
If the Maple Leafs do the expected and go with Mikael Tellqvist as the backup to Ed Belfour, Aubin would rather be picked up by another NHL club on waivers than play for the Marlies.
"I hope I won't (clear)," Aubin said last night after the Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 in their final pre-season tuneup. "My goal is not to play in the AHL, it is to play in the NHL. We'll see how it goes. If I go to the Marlies, I would be somewhere at least. But I don't know what is going to happen."
Aubin suffered a groin injury earlier in camp and saw action in just one game, back on Sept. 18. He said he had been ready to go since last Monday but never did get into another game. Last night, Aubin, who has played in 168 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, watched from the end of the Leafs bench as Tellqvist made 29 saves.
Tellqvist, mustard-yellow pads and all (the blue ones he ordered have yet to arrive), said some extra work before camp started helped him through the past three weeks. He spent some time in Strathroy working out with Leafs goalie coach Steve McKichan. Later, putting in time with strength and conditioning coach Matt Nichol paid off.
"With Steve, I just tried to do the small stuff, working on skating drills and puckhandling," Tellqvist said last night. "He works with the kind of style you have, and does not try to change you. I had a little more jump in my legs (from exercising with Nichol) and it felt good."
Tellqvist, who played in four pre-season matches, put in his best performance last night, stoning the Wings on several occasions. With the Leafs up 2-1, Tellqvist thwarted Tomas Holmstrom, Kris Draper and Robert Lang on a bang-bang-bang play.
At the age of 26, Tellqvist has no qualms about playing behind Belfour this season.
"My goal coming into camp was to get the job and I have to wait and see what happens still," Tellqvist said. "I am just going to stay ready and work hard in practice. It's a cliche, but it's what I have to do.
"There is always a ton of things you can work on."