Getting used to tight races

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

Halfway through his team's tour of the Northwest, Leafs coach Pat Quinn is reluctant to pin any of the six NHL divisions with the title of 'strongest in the league.'

"This is a good division, but I don't know how you tell what's good and what's bad anymore," Quinn said of the tight races.

The Northeast's reputation took a hit when the Montreal Canadiens started to sag, joining the troubled Boston Bruins. The Northwest now has all three Western Canadian teams fighting for top spot, with the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild in hot pursuit. The Leafs meet the Avalanche and Wild back to back on the road next week.

"I guess everyone wants to blow smoke in their own way," Quinn said, knowing the Southeast and Pacific can make its own claim to being the best. "It (the Northwest) very well might be the best, certainly in this Western Conference. We're 1-1 on this trip and within the next two weeks we'll play everybody. Hopefully we'll be 4-1 by the time it's finished."

CARTER BLENDING WITH SEDINS

Canucks right winger Anson Carter, who is black, heartily approves of the nickname the Brothers Line of himself and the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik. When Jason King was with the Sedins, they were the Mattress Line (two twins and a king).

But Carter is one of the few wingers to hit it off with the Swedes since they arrived with such fanfare in 2000.

"I guess since they've been here (the team) has had problems trying to find someone to fit in," Carter said. "When I got here, after watching them play, I said to them: 'Don't even look for me. If you find me, you find me. But you two have the best chemistry of any two players in the league for obvious reasons.'

"I find the holes for them and try and make their lives easier. If we can get the puck over the blue line, we have a good chance to score."

Carter's Los Angeles based production company, Big Up Entertainment, is entering a movie in the upcoming Sarasota Festival. An adult comedy called Bald, it's the story of a folically challenged college student whose friends get involved in a twisted fund-raising venture to get him a hair transplant. Carter hopes the movie will get a limited release in theatres or go to video/DVD.


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