Maurice knows his Marlies

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

John Pohl scanned the Maple Leafs dressing room the other day and thought he was in a time warp.

Had he not known better, Pohl would have figured he was back with the Paul Maurice-coached Marlies of a year ago.

"I counted 10 of us who were with the Marlies last season," Pohl said yesterday.

That group would included Pohl and fellow forwards Kris Newbury, Ben Ondrus, Bates Battaglia and Aleksander Suglobov; defencemen Carlo Colaiacovo, Brendan Bell, Ian White and Andy Wozniewski; and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin.

"You look around the league and it's almost the same story with every team, young guys coming up from the minors to help out," captain Mats Sundin said.

The fact that Maurice is familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the former Marlies is a definite plus.

"The advantage is, when you put a young guy or bunch of young guys in the lineup that you don't really know as a coach, you're careful with them," Maurice said. "You have to watch what you say because you don't want to effect their confidence.

"(But) I can say whatever I want to say to a guy like Kris. If he makes a mistake and I go down the bench and tell him, he knows how to handle it.

"Suglobov is the one guy I don't have a handle on. I thought he has played better, though."

LOOSE LEAFS

Maurice was asked for his thoughts on the fact that Rory Fitzpatrick of the Vancouver Canucks is third in voting among Western Conference defencemen for the all-star game next month in Dallas. "I think we can get Woz in there," Maurice joked, referring to the injured Wozniewski. "He won't be able to make contact but, then again, there is none in that game." Wozniewski is recovering from shoulder surgery and has not been cleared for body contact ... Defenceman Pavel Kubina has a bruise in the shape of a puck on his hip after being hit by a shot on Tuesday during the Leafs' win against Minnesota ... Maurice on injured forward Michael Peca, who visited his teammates yesterday: "He seems in good spirits other than the fact he can't find a razor."


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