Still hope for shootouts

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

Coach Paul Maurice refuses to throw in the towel on shootouts after Saturday's second setback of the year put the Leafs' overall record at 0-2 and 7-16 since the tiebreaker came in.

"We've only had two of them and five total shooters," Maurice said. "We've not gone through a full rotation of guys yet."

Maurice said Mats Sundin was an automatic choice to be among his three shootout contestants, followed by Nik Antropov, as long as he's second in points. Both were blanked by Steve Valiquette of the Rangers on Saturday.

But Maurice agreed not all players jump at the chance to participate and some Leafs actually avoid his eye contact on the bench as he compiles his list. Maurice felt better when reminded the great Jaromir Jagr often declines shootouts, too.

"He's not bailing on his team in that situation, he's trying to help them win," Maurice said.

HAL, MO HIT CENTURY MARK

Maurice and defenceman Hal Gill both reached the 100-game milestone with the Leafs on Saturday.

"I'd like to put another zero on the end of that (otherwise) it's a little early to be commenting," Maurice said with a laugh. "It's almost as (unlucky) as saying your team is healthy."

His record so far is 47-38-15

Gill, despite shot-blocking duties and 5-on-3 penalty killing, hasn't missed a game, where every other blue-liner who started last year has been hurt, benched, suspended or demoted.

"Knock on wood," Gill said, tapping the Canadian maple finish on his dressing room seat. "For the most part, shots hurt, but don't injure."

LOOSE LEAFS

Seventy years ago tonight, Charlie Conacher recorded his 14th and final hat trick as a Leaf. All of his three-goal games came between 1930-37 and he ranks second behind Darryl Sittler's 18 tricks in club history ... Thirty years ago yesterday Ken Dryden became the last Montreal goalie to get a regular-season shutout against the Leafs in a home game.


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