Ex-Leaf clears waivers

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

As Bryan McCabe soars in this National Hockey League season, the man the Maple Leafs traded for him five years ago has cleared waivers from the Florida Panthers.

Alexander Karpovtsev, an injury-prone defenceman, played only 192 games for three teams since the deal, while second team all-star McCabe is in full bloom this season leading all NHL defencemen in points.

Leafs coach Pat Quinn, who was general manager at the time, made the deal partly on the recommendation of Leafs assistant coach Rick Ley and then-pro scout Murray Oliver.

"When Bryan became available, we knew there were spots he could get better, but it was something we thought (would happen)," Quinn said. "For some reason, Karpovtsev wasn't fitting in here. Without trying to look like some kind of genius, it certainly has turned out very well for us."

Karpovtsev, 35, remains with the Panthers, who have a shortage of defencemen.

EIGHT IS ENOUGH

The Leafs' lack of games against two of their Original Six rivals obviously irks Mats Sundin, who has twice commented on the subject this week. Toronto does not meet the Detroit Red Wings or Chicago Blackhawks this season, but plays Boston and Montreal eight times and the New York Rangers four.

"Eight games is a lot to play one team," the captain said. "It'll take a year to analyse (fan reaction) compared to the rest. I hope the fans aren't going to get sick of watching Ottawa play Toronto, because six games were a lot, too. But we'll see if it's better or not.

"I like to see more games against the Original Six. Detroit is a great game and I know the fans like it. Chicago has been a rival for many years."

OSHAWA PROJECT PROCEEDING

The layoffs at General Motors won't kill the new hockey arena in downtown Oshawa, but it was disturbing news for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.

MLSEL is a partner with the city in the $45-million venture, the new home of the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. The facility at Mary and Athol Sts. will include a 5,400-seat bowl, with an outdoor skating rink.

Richard Peddie, president and CEO of MLSEL, said no changes in the construction timetable are expected.


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