White confident he can wear blue and white

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

Ian White will enter Maple Leafs training camp in two weeks riding a wave of confidence but knows it will carry him only so far.

White played for the Leafs last season during the most intense part of their schedule -- the final month, when they were chasing an elusive Eastern Conference playoff spot -- and did quite well in 12 games.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound defenceman had a goal and five assists and was plus-2, averaging more than 19 minutes of ice time.

"I took the opportunity and showed them I could handle the pressure," White, 22, said. "It was an eye-opener and I cherished every moment. But there will be five or six guys fighting for two spots in camp. The odds are not great, but they are better than they would be on a lot of other teams."

There is a chance White's odds could be hurt because the Leafs have signed Pavel Kubina, another right-shooting defenceman whose bread and butter is offence. But White has demonstrated he can be an effective NHL player.

"I'm getting a little more credit than I was before, but I can handle the big guys and play at this level whether I'm 5-10 or not," White said. "I think times have changed and a lot more smaller guys can play in this game."

Getting closer

Matt Stajan remains the lone Leafs' regular unsigned with the opening of camp just two weeks away.

"There has been lots of discussion and we're talking about different terms, on one-year or two-year or three-year deals," Pat Morris, Stajan's agent, said.

"Matt has a growing career and it is in both sides' best interests to have him starting in camp. There is nothing adversarial (in negotiations with general manager John Ferguson) or anything like that."

Stajan, in his second NHL season, had 15 goals and 12 assists in 80 games in 2005-06 and made $805,600 US.

BRIEFLY

Morris, who represents unrestricted free agent Tie Domi, said Domi "is keeping his options open." But it's likely the 36-year-old Domi, who was bought out by the Leafs, will announce his retirement in the coming weeks ... Among the players taking part for the Leafs in the rookie tournament with the Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens and York University starting Sept. 8 at Ricoh Coliseum are 2006 first-round pick Jiri Tlusty, goalie Justin Pogge and forward Robbie Earl. Marlies coach Greg Gilbert will guide the Leafs.


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