The Big E-ducator

Eric Lindros meets a lot of new friends during a training session at the Rogers Centre yesterday....

Eric Lindros meets a lot of new friends during a training session at the Rogers Centre yesterday. (Toronto Sun/Ernest Doroszuk)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

From the way he is talking, Eric Lindros sounds like he already has signed a new contract with the Maple Leafs.

Lindros, who wants nothing more than to return to the Leafs, yesterday gave a thumbs up to the additions made to the club recently by general manager John Ferguson.

"We got two big defencemen back there (Pavel Kubina and Hal Gill), and I think it really helps us," Lindros said. "Now it comes to the forwards and what John wants to do up there. The team looks really good from the goaltender to the defence."

Lindros has been working with Leafs strength and conditioning coach Matt Nichol, and yesterday skated with some Leafs at Lakeshore Lions Arena. But Lindros insisted he has not agreed on a one-year, $750,000 US deal with the Leafs, even though that scenario has been reported for weeks.

"I talked with John recently (Tuesday night) and we'll see," Lindros said. "I'm sure something might come together."

One source believes Ferguson intends fully to bring Lindros back, but at far less than the $1.55 million US the 33-year-old received last year. Ferguson has said he has an interest in Lindros, and reportedly is not averse to re-signing the slow but productive Jason Allison.

Lindros was at the Rogers Centre yesterday to participate as an instructor in an off-ice training session held by Nike Bauer.

Several hundred boys from 12 to 17 years of age were led through the session by Lindros, Chad Kilger, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Nichol, the Ottawa Senators' Chris Kelly and a few OHL players.

The oft-injured Lindros said he nearly has recovered fully from ligament damage in his right wrist, which required surgery.

"I feel strong and healthy," Lindros said. "I think my wrist will be 100% in the next little bit, certainly by training camp. Mobility is back to normal. Strength is something I don't foresee an issue with."

Though retirement could be an option for Lindros -- provided another team does not show interest if the Leafs don't sign him -- it is obvious he wants to make up for a lost season with Toronto.

Lindros was healthy enough to play in just 33 games for his hometown club, and had 11 goals and 11 assists. But Lindros has been working out diligently, and Nichol said the 6-foot-4, 240-pound forward is in the same shape now that he was when he arrived at training camp last fall.

"I got out of the gates (well) last year but I did not get to play that much (because of injuries)," Lindros said. "It's a wonderful city to play in, that's for sure. I would like to come back and have a real strong season."


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