Wellwood says he's well enough to play

MIKE ZEISBERGER

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Kyle Wellwood is raring to go.

Used sparingly in the latter stages of the Maple Leafs' 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday, Wellwood's inactivity spawned speculation that the young forward continues to encounter complications associated with the sports hernia surgery he underwent several months ago.

But Wellwood claims he will be fine to answer the call when the Leafs take on the Montreal Canadiens in the season finale tonight at the Air Canada Centre.

"I feel good," he said. "I'm fine to play.

"Hey, the approach to this game is different. The whole season is down to one game, and I expect to feel good and get a lot of minutes."

WHAT ABOUT FERGIE?

Various reports have speculated recently that a Maple Leafs loss tonight might automatically put general manager John Ferguson's job in jeopardy.

Through it all, Richard Peddie, president of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment Ltd., has maintained any scuttlebutt suggesting Ferguson's tenure automatically would end if the Leafs don't make the playoffs is nothing but pure innuendo.

"At the end of the season, an evaluation is done on the job performance of people in management," Peddie said yesterday. "That goes for John and that goes for me, too."

Ferguson has one year remaining on his deal and understandably would like to land an extension.

LOOSE LEAFS

Coming into tonight's game on an eight-game home-ice winning streak, the Leafs should hope they are as loose as coach Paul Maurice was yesterday.

Here are some of his quips.

- On balanced scoring:"If Hal Gill throws a hat trick up there, we'll take it."

- On the Habs:"We've got their dressing room miked ... Just joking."

- On the potential huge TV audience this evening: "I would think it would be a good night to have a commerical spot."


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