Sosa fails to hit home run

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Carlos Sosa is optimistic he can get a new contract for his client, Darcy Tucker, with the Maple Leafs.

When that happens is another question altogether.

Sosa spent parts of yesterday meeting with Leafs general manager John Ferguson as negotiations for a new deal with Tucker continued. The meeting marked the fourth time in recent months the Seattle-based Sosa and Ferguson have met face-to-face to discuss Tucker. Sosa's trip to Toronto was planned for weeks.

"We're going to continue to talk," Sosa said. "We took some steps we had not taken before. We had some great dinners together in the summer but now it's time to stop eating (and get down to business)."

Sosa refused to divulge the numbers he is seeking for Tucker. Speculation is that Tucker, 31, wants five years and $17.5 million US, or $3.5 million a year. The Leafs might be thinking more in the $2.5-$3 million a season range.

Tucker scored a career-high 28 goals last season. At $1.596 million US this year, he is a bargain. Tucker has maintained his first desire is to remain in Toronto, but will not sell himself short either.

TLUSTY TO THE SOO

Jiri Tlusty is heading north.

The Maple Leafs decided yesterday the best way for their first-round pick in 2006 to continue his apprenticeship in hockey in North America is to play for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.

Once the paperwork is done, Tlusty will join the Greyhounds and could be in their lineup tomorrow night in Peterborough against the Petes.

"We anticipate he will get a much greater opportunity to play go-to guy minutes," Ferguson said. "(The Soo) is the best place for him to spend this year."

Tlusty had three goals and an assist in six games in a limited role with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. But rather than get spot duty, the Leafs would rather Tlusty play upward of 25 minutes a game with the Greyhounds and possibly dominate the OHL. Having Tlusty, a six-foot, 196-pound centre, learn under Hounds coach Craig Hartsburg also appeals greatly to the Leafs.


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