Demotion just for dollars

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

The Leafs demoted Carlo Colaiacovo to the Marlies yesterday, a day after the Toronto native scored his first NHL goal.

But far from being a callous move, it was designed as a cheaper parking space for the young defencemen until the weekend.

With Aki Berg's sprained knee still keeping him out of the lineup for games Friday in Buffalo and Saturday in Montreal, Colaiacovo could stay on the Marlies roster for 48 hours and still find himself driving to Buffalo tomorrow. The Leafs do not have to pay him at the $450,000 US minimum NHL salary for the two days leading up to Friday.

"We had a day off and it didn't make fiscal sense to have him here," general manager John Ferguson told The Fan 590 last night. "We'll see how things look after practice (today)."

Wade Belak says he is ready to come back tomorrow after missing the Leafs' 6-4 win over the Capitals on Tuesday to be with his pregnant wife. He would take Colaiacovo's spot, unless head coach Pat Quinn sits fellow rookie Staffan Kronwall instead.

LOOKING FOR COOKIES

Quinn says it's getting tougher to get the Leafs to pay attention to defence, with all the emphasis on scoring chances in the new NHL.

"Everyone's looking for cookies all the time now, gambling sort of plays," Quinn said. "There's a lot of cheating going on the offensive side and you give up out-numbered attacks."

Quinn was asked if any lead these days could be called safe. Two years ago, even a weak team such as Washington might have preserved a 2-0 margin. But on Tuesday, the Leafs scored five in a row.

"I'd still like to believe your team can be strong and defend a one-goal lead," Quinn said. "But with the way the game is being called, there's nothing you can identify as being safe."

MARLIES IN THE MIDWEST

Toronto's AHL farm club is in the midwestern U.S. this weekend, playing in Peoria, Ill., tomorrow, Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday and in Omaha, Neb., on Sunday.

Omaha's team is the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, Calgary's top farm club.

Defenceman Andy Wozniewski (cracked cheek bone) will be reassessed early next week.


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