'Alumni' visit is cordial

LANCE HORNBY and TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

When Toronto's media relations man Pat Park joked that the Leafs alumni team was practising at 2 p.m. yesterday, he wasn't far off.

The Boston Bruins have one ex-Bay Streeter on each of their forward lines; Brad Boyes, Mariusz Czerkawski, Travis Green and Tom Fitzgerald, with Brian Leetch on defence.

When Czerkawksi paused outside the Leafs dressing room yesterday, almost every Toronto player coming off the ice went over to say hello. The B's claimed him on waivers on Wednesday.

"Too bad it went that way, but there are a lot of good guys I met," Czerkawski said. "Management was professional to the end."

However, Czerkawski never had a chat with coach Pat Quinn about why he played just 19 games, during which he had five points.

"Basically I never talked to him except probably the beginning of the season in November," Czerkawski said. "But he said he didn't have an explanation. I was working out and practising and had that hope that things were going to change, but it didn't. I never had a chance after that to talk to him again."

Quinn praised Czerkawski for not rocking the boat.

"He was a terrific kid who never caused any problems. He came and worked and I certainly wish something better had happened. I wish him luck now, but not (in tonight's game)."

NOT SO GENTLE BEN

Ben Ondrus already has made a few National Hockey League enemies.

The six-foot Leafs winger, called up from the Marlies last week, has hit some well-known opponents hard and been roughed up himself.

"It's the same in any league: Go out there and be physical and guys aren't going to like it," Ondrus said yesterday. "But we're battling for a playoff spot here so you have to get in peoples' faces and make life harder on teams coming in here. If I don't work hard, I think I'm very average."

Quinn indicated yesterday Ondrus would stay up awhile, at least as long as the Leafs keep getting points in games in which he dresses. With injuries on defence, Ondrus is hoping Marlies roommate Brendan Bell gets the call this week, too. They live near the Ricoh Coliseum, but wouldn't mind a slightly longer drive to the ACC.


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