Sullivan learned his lessons

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

Seventy-point forwards should not be slipping through the fingers of the depth-challenged Leafs.

But in the seven and half years since LW Steve Sullivan was lost on waivers to Chicago, both he and the team have absorbed a few lessons.

"(Toronto) was something I had to go through, a learning experience," said Sullivan, second to Paul Kariya in scoring for the Nashville Predators.

"Sometimes I thought I deserved to be in the lineup, sometimes I didn't.

"At the time, with Pat Quinn coaching, I don't think there was room for me to grow. There was always the idea that he liked bigger players, but if I'd been able to produce on a regular basis, size wouldn't have been a concern.

"Playing in Toronto wasn't the easiest of markets. Going there at age (23) wasn't the best timing. But no hard feelings."

Ten years ago this month, Sullivan, D Jason Smith and C Alyn McCauley were acquired from the New Jersey Devils for Doug Gilmour and Dave Ellett. Sullivan was claimed, Smith traded to Edmonton for two undistinguished draft picks and McCauley was part of the ill-fated Owen Nolan trade with San Jose.

IAFRATE IN THE HOUSE

The NHL's two hardest shooters were in the same hallway yesterday, but Al Iafrate and Chad Kilger didn't go out on the ice to settle the score.

On Dec. 3, 2006, Kilger unleashed a 106.6-m.p.h. shot at the Leafs' skills competition. That broke the mark which Iafrate, a former Leaf, set at the 1993 NHL all-star game, when he rang up 105.2 m.p.h. as a Washington Capital.

Iafrate, who retired in 1998 after multiple surgeries on his knee and back, went on to a varied career, that included heavy metal disc jockey. Now 40, he's a sales rep for Warrior hockey sticks.

"I don't know if (Kilger's) shot was a record, because it wasn't at the all-star game," said Iafrate, who claimed to have reached the same speed in trial events.

"But 106 is quite a blast any way you look at it. I'm just glad he's furthered the cause of one-piece sticks, because there are a lot of misconceptions about their durability."


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