Rookies shine

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

The Maple Leafs finally won something.

Granted, there was no sea of fans pouring out on the streets to celebrate their victory in the finale of the 2006 rookie tournament yesterday at the Ricoh Coliseum.

Nevertheless their 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens freshmen showcased a pair of players who are the future of the Toronto franchise. Prized goaltending prospect Justin Pogge stopped 34 Habs shots while 2006 first-round draft pick Jiri Tlusty scored the winner, his fourth goal of the tourney.

General manager John Ferguson said he is not certain where Tlusty will start the season.

"The (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) own his junior rights but he also is eligible for the AHL,"Ferguson said. "We'll see how things go at camp."

Pogge, meanwhile, was not impressed with the larger nets used at the tourney. The nets, which are eight inches wider and six inches higher than normal, could be used by the NHL in the future.

"You get used to them a bit but I hope they don't become a regular thing," Pogge said.

RINK TALK

Ferguson met with a number of interested parties last night to discuss the proposed four-pad arena slated to be built near Lakeshore Lions Arena.

"I talked with representatives of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Hockey Canada, Lakeshore Lions representatives and some of the politicians involved," he said. "We are attempting to get this process completed as quickly as possible."

The intended occupants of the building include the Leafs and Marlies,the Hockey Hall of Fame and Hockey Canada. It was hoped the facility would be ready for the Leafs' 2007 training camp but that date likely has been pushed back a year.

PRONGER HEARD RUMOURS

Before being traded to the Anaheim Ducks by the Edmonton Oilers, Chris Pronger acknowledged he heard about the proposed deal that would have sent him to Toronto for Tomas Kaberle and Alex Steen. Trade talks ended because the Leafs did not want to give up Steen, one of their top forward prospects. "Toronto made some bold moves like re-signing Bryan McCabe and bringing in Hal Gill and Pavel Kubina," Pronger said yesterday. "I don't know if they (financially) could have done the same had I gone there."

LOOSE LEAFS

Ferguson held another round of contract talks yesterday with Pat Morris, the agent for forward Matt Stajan. "We continue to have good discussions," Ferguson said. "We have common intentions." ... New Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft unveiled his new blue-and-white mask yesterday, one that features the images of former Leafs greats such Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark. Maple Leaf Gardens is also included.


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