Leafs Notes

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

SUNDIN KNOWS ROLE MIGHT CHANGE

Mats Sundin wants to stay a Leaf for a few more years, but knows it likely will be in the shadow of another, as he once usurped Doug Gilmour.

"That time will come," the captain agreed yesterday as the Leafs packed up at the Air Canada Centre. "I'm 36 and I'm not getting any younger."

But coach Paul Maurice brought up the way an aging Ron Francis accepted a new role with Carolina.

"He was (second) in points at age 39 and 40," Maurice said.

ALL WORK, NO PLAY

If Maurice learned anything from his first season as coach of the Leafs, it is to cut back on the "ceremonial" part of his job.

"You could do three things a day here, from cutting ribbons to kissing babies," he joked. "I enjoyed the spectacle of it, all the special pre-game ceremonies. But you lose sight of the fact you should go home at some point of the day."

TV HISTORY

The Leafs' game against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday was as big a television draw as predicted, drawing an average of 2,810,000 viewers, a regular-season record for Hockey Night In Canada. It beat the 2003 Heritage Classic, an outdoor game in Edmonton between the Oilers and Canadiens, which was seen by 2,747,000 viewers.

CONTRACT CONTRACTED?

Free agent goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin knows his contract talks with the Leafs will be a lot leaner this year. Having played a lesser role than his near season-saving run of 2005-06, he won't get much more than the one-way $525,000 offer of 2006.

"I used my leverage too quickly last year," a rueful Aubin said yesterday. "But there's a good bunch of guys here and I don't want to close any doors."

LOOSE LEAFS

Few Leafs went into details about injuries they were hiding in the final weeks. Defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo will have his right leg checked, and John Pohl's back acted up. "Our surgeries were during the year when we would've preferred them later," Maurice quipped ... Only Swede Alex Steen expressed interest in playing at the world championship next month. The rest, including Sundin (Sweden), Tomas Kaberle (Czech Republic), Pohl (U.S.) and Colaiacovo, Ian White and Matt Stajan (Canada), said they were either banged up or not interested.


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