September 11, 2007
Sundin ready to wing it
By LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media
Mats Sundin tried the casino at Monte Carlo as part of his summer holiday, so he's in the mood to roll the dice with the critical decision on who will be his wingers this year.
"Whatever (coach) Paul Maurice wants," the Maple Leafs captain said yesterday in his first on-ice appearance in Toronto in advance of Thursday's training camp medicals.
"I like Jason Blake, a good fast winger, but I think we'd all want to play with a 40-goal scorer such as him. Me and Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky had a good chemistry going last year. We'll see how Paul wants to play it."
Maurice said in a recent interview that Sundin is quite happy being part of his old bulldozer unit which controls the puck down low, the tactic the Anaheim Ducks used in winning the Stanley Cup last season. Leafs' general manager John Ferguson also took an oath to make the Leafs "a harder team to play against this year" and a starting trio that averages 6-foot-5 and 227 pounds is a good place to start.
That would free Blake for an experiment Maurice has in mind, playing the left side with centre Kyle Wellwood, perhaps a match for the newcomer Blake's speed and creativity.
IN A TIGHT SPOT
The Leafs are wearing the NHL's new form-fitting blue and white jerseys in the final days of friendly workouts, hoping they will be comfortable by the time they get around to using the official version for exhibition games. But right winger Wade Belak wasn't thrilled.
"Too tight," he complained. "I like the socks (with their distinctive stripe on the back that some players unknowingly had on backwards yesterday), but I don't like the sweater. I don't think the fans will, either."