No rest for the young

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

If defencemen Jay Harrison and Andy Wozniewski are returned to the Toronto Marlies, which is expected, before the Marlies' next game on Wednesday, they should not take the demotion personally.

Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson has been pleased with the young pair but does not want them to get rusty during the Olympic break.

"All things being equal, I think it is best to keep them playing," Ferguson said.

Whether the two would be recalled in time for the Leafs' next practice, on Feb. 22, remains to be seen. Starting Wednesday in Hamilton, the Marlies will play six games during the break.

Not much could have gone better for Harrison in his time so far as Leaf, other than a few more wins. The 23-year-old Oshawa native not only was comfortable in eight games, he is fifth in ice time with an average of 18 minutes, 50 seconds.

"I am going to take a lot of things back (to the Marlies, if he goes)," said Harrison, the 82nd pick overall in 2001. "You should expect a lot from yourself and go back to elevate your game and continue to improve. Anything less would be unacceptable and a waste of an experience."

Harrison had one assist and was plus-5. The status of Harrison and Wozniewski, who has averaged 18 minutes 25 seconds in 10 games, will be somewhat cloudy when the Leafs reconvene in the middle of next week. It's expected Ken Klee, who has been out since spraining his left ankle on Feb. 3 in Washington, will be ready to go. Not far behind could be fellow defenceman Alexander Khavanov, who is nursing a hairline fracture in his left foot.

LOTS OF WORK FOR MATS

Of the six Leafs playing in the Olympics, captain Mats Sundin is the one who probably could have used the rest. Sundin, who suffered an eye injury in the season opener, has 41 points in 45 games but has not been as effective as people have come to expect.

"It might be good for me," Sundin said of his participation in the Olympics with his native Sweden. "To get a chance to represent your country and compete against the best in the world is something all players want to do in their career. But it's going to be a lot of hockey in the next couple of weeks."


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