Spring bargain hunters?

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

Pat Quinn does not think the $39 million US salary cap will prevent the kind of late-season playoff-strengthening deals clubs such as the Leafs have tried in recent years.

"There will always be teams (who try to) unload something to clear off their cap, the teams that have been eliminated in some fashion," the Toronto coach predicted. "And there will be teams still trying to win, trying to figure a way to bring something in under their cap. As time goes by, you can take on a player of much higher salary because there's only a small portion of it left."

'QVIST QUESTIONS

Going so long between starts is doing nothing for Mikael Tellqvist's chances of starting in goal for Sweden at the Winter Olympics. So far, he has made just one appearance, in a 4-2 win over the Flyers Oct. 11.

Though he has been named to that country's preliminary list, he is ranked as No. 2 behind Henrik Lundqvist, who has been playing well for the New York Rangers.

"The more playing time you get, the bigger the (Olympic) chance," Tellqvist admitted. "But I have to do my thing here (as backup to Ed Belfour)."

The wild card is Tommy Salo, the veteran NHLer who came out of retirement to play for Frolunda in Sweden and also is on the Olympic list.

PERROTT NOT OUT OF PICTURE

Nathan Perrott, the final Leaf on the roster to play, reported no rust after facing the Flyers on Saturday.

"It was great, bittersweet that we lost, but I skated well," the winger said. "It had been a while and I was nervous with the puck, but that will go with time."

LEAF-ING HOME

There always will be a little piece of Canada in Tom Fitzgerald's family.

"I thought it would be an easy move back to Boston, but it wasn't for our kids (aged 11, 8, 6 and 2 1/2)," the former Leafs forward said. "Two years there seemed like 10 with all the friends they made."

Fitzgerald had considered staying in the summer of 2004 when his contract ran out.

"I wanted a two-year deal, but with the lockout coming, (GM) John Ferguson was only passing out one-year offers, except to Ed Belfour, which was fine. In the end, the only team to offer me two was where I was building a house -- Boston."


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