Return to T.O. roots okay by Cujo

MIKE ZEISBERGER, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

Maybe the speculation of his potential return to the Maple Leafs by the trade deadline didn't pan out, after all.

But that has not spoiled Curtis Joseph's aspirations of perhaps wearing blue and white again before his National Hockey League goaltending career his over.

Having made it clear that Phoenix and Toronto are the only two places he wants to play, Joseph is aware that the Leafs were among the teams the Coyotes talked to prior to the deadline at 3 p.m., on Tuesday.

In the end, Coyotes general manager Mike Barnett just couldn't find the right fit to move the veteran goalie, who responded by shutting out the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 on Mark Messier Night later that same day.

"Any time your name is brought up like that, it must mean you are playing well," said Joseph from Vancouver, where his Coyotes faced off against the Canucks last night. "You wouldn't hear it mentioned otherwise."

Joseph's off-season home is in King City, a significant reason why the unrestricted free agent would love playing in southern Ontario again.

"If I don't re-sign with Phoenix, it would be nice," he said.

"I was born and raised in the Toronto area, and the most important factor in any decision is my family.

"I enjoy playing in Phoenix but, as a competitor, I'll miss being in the playoffs."

Joseph and several other Coyotes spent trade deadline morning in the room of teammate Derek Morris.

Streak to end

"We were watching TV, trying to scoop each other about who would be traded where," Joseph chuckled.

Despite having relative success as a Leaf, Joseph never started 25 consecutive games for Toronto, a feat Andrew Raycroft accomplished on Tuesday.

But that streak could end in the coming days. Facing games against the New Jersey Devils tonight and Buffalo Sabres tomorrow, coach Paul Maurice plans on using backup J-S Aubin in one of the contests.

"One of them is dealing with a minor injury, so I haven't made up my mind how I'm going to split the games,"Maurice said.

Aubin has not made a start since Dec. 29.

"I figured all along we would split these games," said Raycroft, who was seen engaged in a one-on-one conversation with Maurice during the latter stages of practice.


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