Tlusty having his moments

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

Jiri Tlusty's weekend with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds mirrored his season so far with the Ontario Hockey League club.

The Maple Leafs' first-round pick last June in the NHL entry draft played perhaps his best game in junior on Saturday night when he had four assists in a rout of the Erie Otters. But when the Greyhounds spanked the Brampton Battalion 8-2 yesterday, Tlusty did not record a point.

"It has been up and down," Greyhounds coach Craig Hartsburg said. "But he is starting to come along and we are starting to see more and more from him. Playing Saturday night and then Sunday afternoon is a test for him.

"It will be an interesting process for him down the stretch here when we get into really hard games and playoffs. But he is first-round talent and he is a good kid."

Tlusty, a native of the Czech Republic, has 11 goals and 11 assists in 23 games. The 18-year-old forward missed a large chunk of time with an ankle injury.

Leafs general manager John Ferguson said the organization is pleased with Tlusty's development to this point.

KUDOS TO SKRASTINS

A pair of Leafs defencemen were impressed with the NHL longevity mark for defencemen set last week by the Colorado Avalanche's Karlis Skrastins, who played in a record 487th consecutive game. Skrastins broke the mark of 486 games in a row set in the 1960s by the Leafs' Tim Horton. And Skrastins, a native of Latvia, does not play it soft. He was third in the NHL before yesterday's games with 150 blocked shots.

"It's a pretty tough thing to do," Hal Gill said of the streak. "Nowadays something comes up, whether it's getting the flu or having a baby or getting a bone bruise. I'm sure he had to play through some pain as well.

"Not to take away from Cal Ripken (who set an ironman mark in Major League Baseball), but it's not like playing baseball out there. The way the game is, there are not too many guys playing 82 games a year, never mind doing it for that long."

Said Bryan McCabe: "You are never playing 100% the whole year, and there is always some sort of injury to deal with. To do it for that long, all the power to him."


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