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LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Pat Quinn has been patient and loyal with many Maple Leafs' veterans, but perhaps newcomer Mariusz Czerkawski tested him a little too early.

The right winger, brought in late in the summer as a free agent, found himself as the club's first significant healthy scratch on Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Czerkawski had a decent pre-season, scoring three times and adding an assist in seven games, the goal total tying him for first on the team in exhibition play with Kyle Wellwood and Jeff O'Neill.

But he had one assist and was a minus-1 in his first three regular-season games, bouncing around between two lines, usually with Darcy Tucker and a different centreman. The return of O'Neill against the Flyers, the strong play of rookies Alex Steen and Wellwood and the need for Tie Domi's aggressiveness made Czerkawski redundant, at least for one game.

Czerkawski's history with his four previous National Hockey League teams has shown he is a talented offensive player who has some trouble motivating himself. With Djurgarden in the Swedish League last year, he found himself on the bench in the playoffs.

But with four seasons of 25 goals or better, his attraction to general manager John Ferguson in a scoring-friendly NHL was obvious. Speaking a couple of weeks earlier, Quinn had said he hoped to bring Czerkawksi "closer into the team fabric" if it could help make him a better all-around player.

Before Tuesday's game, Quinn was asked about culprits in the club's record of 0-1-2 and whether changes were coming.

"Certainly I want to give opportunity," Quinn said. "I've never been a guy who doesn't give you a couple of chances to change how you're performing and most players can (change).

"We've had injuries (forcing roster moves) and we've had people come in. As far as rewards for how you're playing, there are times when you come to that.

"You don't make your roster decisions in a total vacuum, you do it because you think you see how this player can play and help the team. And when they don't, the coach talks to him about how he can get there. If they still can't pull it out, then you start thinking about whether there are other people who aren't playing who can come in.

"It's the old chicken and egg thing.

"Does the player get confidence because the coach helps him do it, does he do it on his own or does he lose (confidence) because of the coach?"

The Leafs had yesterday off and practise today before flying to Atlanta for the first of back-to-back road games against the Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens. The season's first win over the Flyers, on the heels of a big comeback to take a point from the Ottawa Senators, could mean Quinn keeps his lineup intact tomorrow.

Forward Nathan Perrott has yet to play and defenceman Andy Wozniewski remains the seventh man after playing in the opener.


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