Czerkawski stays positive

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

Mariusz Czerkawski is finding it tough to be merry these days.

It's tough to be upbeat when you have yet to score your first goal as a Maple Leaf.

Or when you've missed a chunk of the season with a shoulder injury.

And now that you are ready to play again, you find yourself a healthy scratch.

This is the place that Czerkawski finds himself.

True, he was not very effective in his six appearances, registering just one assistant.

But while he might be uncomfortable with sitting out, Czerkawski said yesterday he will not rock the boat, opting instead to keep an optimistic view on things.

"It would be easy to get frustrated, to be miserable, to be mad," Czerkawski said. "The main thing is to stay positive.

"It's a long season.This is a good hockey town. It's a great organization. You don't want to be distraction, so you want to work hard, stay positive and, hopefully, when the chance comes, things will go well."

Czerkawski said the shoulder injury has healed to the point where he is ready to go when called upon.

"I've had a couple of practices and I'm getting there," he said.

Obviously notching his first goal as a Leaf would be a relief, but he's trying not to think about it.

"It's not about a monkey on my back," he said, "it's about getting ice time and getting back in the flow of things. Ask anyone who doesn't play, and they'll tell you it's not a position you want to be in.

"On the other side, you just try work hard. You know sooner than later, maybe you'll get the chance."

IN HENRIK THEY TRUST

Maple Leafs rookie Alex Steen is a big fan of Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, his former teammate with Frolunda of the Swedish elite league.

"I played with Henrik three years in elite league, one year in junior, and he's a heck of a goalie," Steen said."He's a real big guy, a butterfly type goalie.

"I'm really happy that it's going so well for him. He's a great goalie. I watch him (on TV) and he's doing real well."


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