Quinn still toying with lines

TERRY KOSHAN and LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

With a two-game winning streak in the books, Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn still tinkered with his line combinations at practice yesterday at Lakeshore Lions Arena.

Quinn had Mats Sundin centring Alexei Ponikarovsky and Alex Steen; Jason Allison between Darcy Tucker and Nik Antropov; Matt Stajan with Wade Belak and Tie Domi; and Kyle Wellwood between Jeff O'Neill and Chad Kilger.

Mariusz Czerkawski and Clarke Wilm were the odd men out.

Quinn probably will keep Ponikarovsky with Sundin for the time being.

"(Ponikarovsky) certainly has been coming along really well," Quinn said. "I think this has a chance of working."

The Leafs are 11-2 when Ponikarovsky scores. O'Neill, meanwhile, has been a healthy scratch the past two games.

The Leafs are slated to practise at the Air Canada Centre today before leaving for New York, where they will take on the Rangers tomorrow night. The two clubs hook up at the ACC for a rare 6 p.m. start on Saturday.

Help is appreciated

In Quinn's eyes, part of what has made the transition to the NHL smoother for rookie defencemen Staffan Kronwall, Andy Wozniewski and Jay Harrison has been the guidance of Bryan McCabe.

"When I was a player I was fortunate to have some older guys helping me and that is exactly what is happening here," Quinn said. "Bryan is that sort of nature. He is a guiding sort of person, not just about positioning, but the mentality of what is going on, calming them down. He has been really good."

Nolan closer to signing

J.P. Barry, the agent for former Leafs winger Owen Nolan, hopes to have the free agent signed with a new team "in the next seven days."

"We hope to have him settled during the Olympic break or shortly after," Barry said.

Barry didn't mention which team Nolan would go to after a two-year recovery from knee and hip problems and a series of salary grievances with the Leafs that will be heard at a later date. It is believed his former team, the San Jose Sharks, are frontrunners. Also mentioned have been the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators.


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