Steen rested, good to go

MIKE ZEISBERGER AND TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:59 AM ET

Alex Steen wanted to nip the concern in the bud.

When the Maple Leafs' promising rookie did not suit up for practice yesterday, speculation swirled around Lakeshore Lions Arena concerning a possible long-term injury.

Not so, said Steen, who plans to be in the lineup tonight against the Los Angeles Kings.

"It was just a rest, a maintenance day for my body," Steen said, slightly amused at the attention his absence created.

"It's nothing big. It's something minor. I'll be out there. It's just precaution things."

J.R. SPEAKS

Veteran Kings forward Jeremy Roenick was back on the ice for the first time in four days yesterday and proclaimed himself fit for tonight's game against the Leafs.

Roenick, who has been suffering from tonsilitis and flu-like symptoms, was checked out at a Toronto hospital earlier in the day.

Once he steps on the ice he'll be going up against Ed Belfour, his former Chicago teammate who will attempt to pass Terry Sawchuk for second place on the career wins list with 448.

"It doesn't surprise me," Roenick said of Belfour."Even when he was a young guy breaking in, you could tell he might be a legend because of his skill and competitiveness. And now he has reached legendary status."

QUOTE/UNQUOTE

"I'm not even thinking about him at all. We don't set a game plan for that sort of thing. There are guys that play that way. It has been that way since the game started. You just go out and play your game."

-- Leafs coach Pat Quinn on Sean Avery

RASK VS. POGGE

Leafs fans may have to pay special attention to Canada's opener at the world junior championship on Boxing Day against Finland. With 2005 first-rounder Tuukka Rask set to be Finland's starting goalie, he could be facing Justin Pogge, the Leafs' third-round pick in 2004. As expected, Pogge was one of four goalies invited to Canada's selection camp.

"Goaltending is unique in that you want to bring the two guys who are the hottest, and if Justin is one of the two hottest goalies, he will make the team," Hockey Canada director of player personnel Blair Mackasey said.


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