Rookies plentiful, helpful

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

No less than 12 rookies have played in at least one game for the Maple Leafs this season, which is an unheard of number under coach Pat Quinn.

"It's a different feel," Mats Sundin said. "It brings more energy, and there are a little more mistakes and it takes a little longer for them to learn, but I think all of our young players have done great. It's positive to see there is a bright future for this team."

Somewhat surprising is that none of the freshmen have fallen on their faces. A player such as forward Ben Ondrus has yet to record a point in 12 games, but if every Leaf had his hustle, they probably would be in the thick of the playoff hunt. Alex Steen and Kyle Wellwood have fallen off a bit, but both have shown they are here to stay for a long time.

"Over the years we have drafted some nice young men," Quinn said.

"We haven't always been picking high, but we picked pretty well and and these kids take time to learn their craft."

BID IS IN

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment yesterday submitted its bid documents to Hockey Canada to play host to the 2009 world junior championship.

Its competitors for the tournament are the cities of Montreal, Ottawa, Saskatoon and a joint bid from Calgary and Edmonton. In-person presentations will be made in Calgary on April 18, with the winning bid to be determined in May.

There is speculation the Toronto bid to Hockey Canada involves a guarantee of a doubling in profit of this winter's tournament in Vancouver, which was in the $10-million range.

AROUND THE RINK

Defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo, who has been suffering from post-concussion syndrome, has been cleared to resume off-ice workouts, general manager John Ferguson confirmed last night. Even if Colaiacovo does return to complete health, he is not eligible to join the Marlies for the AHL playoffs ... The Leafs sent forward Aleksander Suglobov to the Marlies in time for their game last night against Manchester ... Defenceman Jay Harrison has returned to the Marlies lineup and could get another shot with the Leafs before the season ends. He recently has recovered from a hand injury.


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