Leafs, Spengler linked

TERRY KOSHAN AND SUN WIRES

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

Canada's Spengler Cup team is riddled with connections to the Maple Leafs.

As expected, former Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph, a free agent, will be one of the team's goalies.

The Leafs have loaned forward Simon Gamache to Hockey Canada for the tournament, and another forward is ex-Leaf Travis Green.

Defenceman Yannick Tremblay also played for the Leafs, while Leafs executive Doug Gilmour is an assistant coach for Canada.

Canada opens play Dec. 26 against HC Moeller Pardubice of the Czech Republic at the tournament in Davos, Switzerland.

PRICE GETS EARLY GIFT

MONTREAL -- A surprise awaited rookie Carey Price when he got to practice yesterday -- news that he'll get a seventh straight start in goal for the Montreal Canadiens.

That despite the return of veteran Cristobal Huet from a pulled groin. Huet was expecting to be in goal when the Canadiens play host to the Florida Panthers tonight.

Price's stellar play in the past two games, in which he stopped 58 of 60 shots in 4-1 wins over Philadelphia and Toronto, convinced coach Guy Carbonneau to stay with the 20-year-old while he's hot.

That's the choice I have to make," Carbonneau said. "Cristobal is not happy and he shouldn't be."

PREDATORS SIGN BLUM

NASHVILLE -- The Predators have signed 2007 first-round pick Jonathon Blum to an entry-level contract.

Blum, 18, has 39 points (9-30) in 35 games with the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants. The six-foot, 168-pound native of Long Beach, Calif., captured the Memorial Cup with the Giants last season and ranked seventh among WHL defencemen with 51 points (8-43).

Blum has been named to the U.S. roster for the upcoming world junior championship.

PETER PUCK ALIVE AND WELL

Peter Puck is making a comeback.

Starting on Thursday, digital channel Leafs TV will air 11 original segments featuring the famous animated character from the 1970s during its upcoming Maple Leafs broadcasts.

Peter Puck first gained fame on NBC's game of the week broadcasts, appearing during intermissions to help teach Americans about hockey.

He later aired on CBC's Hockey Night In Canada in the late 1970s.

WILD'S KOIVU HURTS LEG

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Wild centre Mikko Koivu had pain in his injured left leg during a skate yesterday and is not expected to return to the ice soon.

Koivu suffered a broken bone in his leg Nov. 16 when Vancouver defenceman Mattias Ohlund hit him with a two-handed swing of his stick. Ohlund was suspended four games.

Koivu, sidelined for a month, has been skating on his own. The fracture has healed, but he needs to build strength in the leg.

Coach Jacques Lemaire said he hoped to have the Finnish star back within the next two weeks.


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