Mariusz Czerkawski was signed by John Ferguson, but it was obvious Leafs coach Pat Quinn wasn't going to play him.
After four goals in 19 games and a growing resentment at being benched for checkers, the one-time 35-goal man was placed on waivers and snatched by his first team, the Boston Bruins.
"I've spoken to Fergie regularly and it became obvious he wouldn't be in the loop," said Neil Abbott, Czerkawski's agent. "We thought he was on the right track (with goals in three games in a row before Christmas), but he got scratched and disappeared.
"I never talk to coaches, but perhaps Pat had his own ideas about Mariusz. We realize we came to the party late and didn't sign until late August. But we're pleased with the way John handled things and we hope Mariusz can end the season on a strong note."
One problem that has greased the Leafs' slide has been the lack of togetherness among the five players on the ice at any given time. When there is little or no cohesiveness, bad things usually happen. But the Leafs were improved in that area in a 5-3 win against the Canadiens on Tuesday night.
"I think (trust) has been there, but I think we all have to build up our own trust in each other, in ourselves," captain Mats Sundin said. "We are all NHL players. We all make mistakes but we have to try to make something happen too. We can't just be afraid of playing because then we'll lose every night."
NOW THAT'S FUNNY
The notion that Tie Domi's eyelid had to be glued back on after he was high-sticked against the Canadiens, as one report suggested yesterday, is hilarious. A small amount of glue was applied to a tiny cut, one small enough that it did not require stitches, on Domi's eyelid. He returned to the game after getting poked by Mike Komisarek.
BACK TO THE MARLIES
The Leafs yesterday re-assigned forward Ben Ondrus to the Marlies. In his NHL debut against the Canadiens, he had 11 minutes, six seconds of ice time, more than regulars Matt Stajan, Jeff O'Neill and Domi. More importantly, Ondrus was a thorn in the Habs' side and demonstrated he can be relied upon to bring energy.