What can you do?

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

Mariusz Czerkawski has been down this road before, so he's not exactly losing sleep over his benching on Tuesday night.

Nor was the Maple Leafs winger overly upset yesterday with the idea he might not play tonight in Atlanta against the Thrashers.

"It's not the first time I have had tough times in my career," said Czerkawski, who became the Leafs' first big-name healthy scratch for Tuesday's win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

"I was not happy with my game and I guess (coach Pat Quinn and his staff) were not either. We have good depth and if you have a bad game, you are going to sit on the bench. I did not play to my potential."

Signed last month primarily to provide offence, Czerkawski has been in a rut, recording just one assist and two shots on goal despite averaging 17 minutes, 12 seconds of ice time in three games.

Quinn said he was inclined to go tonight with the same lineup that was successful against the Flyers, but also indicated he wants to get Nathan Perrott, who has not yet played, into game action relatively soon.

Czerkawski has been valuable when he has put his mind to putting in a solid effort. Six times since his NHL career began with the Boston Bruins in April 1994 the 33-year-old Poland native has scored at least 20 goals.

Though he had 25 for the New York Islanders in the season previous to the most recent lockout, Czerkawski had a rough time with the Montreal Canadiens in 2002-03.

Because of a poor work ethic, Czerkawski was demoted to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL in December 2002 after he was a healthy scratch 11 times with the Habs.

But Quinn yesterday refused to finger Czerkawski for ineffective play.

"He was not pulled because he has been way off or anything of that nature," Quinn said. "We just made a coaching decision on the lineup. Sometimes (a player) comes out when it is not really anything you could have controlled or changed if you are the player. He'll have his opportunity back, there is no question about that.

"We're still looking for that right lineup."


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