Ondrus caught off guard

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Ben Ondrus was hoping to provide a spark for the Maple Leafs last night on short notice.

The right winger was told by Toronto Marlies coach Paul Maurice at 10 a.m. yesterday to report to the Air Canada Centre immediately and be on the ice for the morning skate a half hour later.

"They're throwing me into the fire," Ondrus, 23, said.

"I was a little caught off guard, and I was not expecting it, but I am not going to complain."

The sort of player who can get under an opponent's skin, Ondrus has 12 goals and 18 assists in 53 games with the Marlies. His 104 penalty minutes are third on the team.

Signed as a free agent by the Leafs in May 2004, Ondrus is in his third season with the Leafs' AHL farm team. A native of the Edmonton suburb of Sherwood Park, Ondrus spent five years with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League.

Ondrus was not expecting to get much of a nap before playing his first NHL game.

He said he was taken aback by the large group of reporters in the dressing room.

"I never really expected this many people in the room, but I guess that is Toronto and that's the way it is here," Ondrus said.

ON THE MEND

A few weeks ago, Jay Harrison had just finished a strong first apprenticeship with the Maple Leafs after he was recalled from the Marlies. But with the Olympic break, the up-and-coming defenceman was returned to the Marlies and was getting back into a groove when he suffered a hand injury against Omaha on Feb. 25.

"Any setback is frustrating right now," Harrison said. "I'm hoping to be back Friday (for the Marlies' game against Philadelphia). I want to make sure this is ready."

LINDROS UNDER THE KNIFE

Eric Lindros is scheduled to undergo wrist surgery tomorrow in London, Ont. Lindros' season ended on Saturday when he re-injured his right wrist, which originally suffered tendon damage in a game against the Dallas Stars on Dec. 10. Lindros has maintained he wants to return to action next season.


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