Power-play: If it ain't broke ...

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

The meat 'n potatoes of the Maple Leafs roster went on the ice at 10 a.m., yesterday, but the bread and butter beat them by half an hour.

The bulk of last year's conference-leading power play -- Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, Kyle Wellwood, Bryan McCabe, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Ian White (subbing for the injured Tomas Kaberle) -- convened with coach Paul Maurice and his three assistants. They are trying to get back some rhythm after an 0-for-12 start in two exhibition games. The drought goes back to last Sunday's Blue and White game when 28 one-minute minors were assessed and the Leafs scored just twice.

"This was on the schedule," Maurice insisted of the special workout.

Maurice and assistant coaches Dallas Eakins, Keith Acton and Randy Ladouceur watched intently as the group crisply fired the puck around with no opposition and no goaltender. The bosses are trying not to tinker too much with a unit that scored a league-high 107 times in 501 chances, a success rate behind just Detroit's.

"We really freelanced on the power play last year to great effect," Maurice said. "I want to allow that to continue to happen a little bit.

"I'll want those guys to come out (ahead of the main body) on good ice, sometimes by themselves. That way, they can do what they want to do, give each other a hard time and keep us coaches away from messing it up."

Maurice also wrapped up both practices yesterday at the Ricoh Coliseum with a bit of fun on the shootout. The Leafs grew to hate the National Hockey League's tiebreaking formula last season, losing seven out of 10, seven valuable bonus points that haunted them in missing the playoffs.

Forward Jeremy Williams made back-to-back highlight dekes on Andrew Raycroft and Justin Pogge during his chances, while big defenceman Andy Wozniewski beat Pogge for a chance to avoid Maurice's dreaded post-practice skating drills.

There was a scary moment when forward Alex Suglobov miscalculated his move, slammed into the boards and went motionless for a few seconds.

"Your first reaction is to stifle the laughter, then when you see what happened, you hope he hasn't (damaged a shoulder)," a relieved Maurice said. "But they're attempting to improve and that's what we want. We saw some good moves and more important, some pretty good saves."


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