Vote for Tomas!

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

Tomas Kaberle is making a respectable charge in his bid to land a spot on the Eastern Conference squad for next month's all-star game in Atlanta.

His Maple Leaf teammates certainly can't make the same claim.

Kaberle seems to be the only legitimate candidate among the Leafs who might have an outside shot to be voted onto the team by the fans, although he has plenty of ground to make up in his bid.

Kaberle's 170,036 votes places him fourth among Eastern Conference defencemen, trailing only leader Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens (282,336), Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins (234,779) and Brian Campbell of the Buffalo Sabres (176,262).

Injured Leaf Bryan McCabe, who likely is out until at least the all-star break with three broken bones in his left hand, is ninth in the balloting with 97,257 votes.

The top Leaf forward is captain Mats Sundin, who ranks No. 12 with 69,989 votes despite enjoying one of his best starts to a season in years. Just behind him at No. 13 is the struggling Jason Blake, who garnered 63,356 votes despite entering last night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers with just five goals in 37 outings.

Both are long behind leader Sidney Crosby, who has a whopping 445,144 votes.

The all-star game goes Jan, 27 in Atlanta. Fans can vote until Jan. 2 by logging on to nhl.com.

PROMISING PROSPECT

Leafs general manager John Ferguson was impressed with the performance of forward Tyler Ruegsegger in his first game at the world junior championship in the Czech Republic.

Ruegsegger, the 166th overall selection in the 2006 entry draft, racked up a pair of assists in the USA's 5-1 victory over Kazakhstan Wednesday.

"He's a smart player with good leadership skills," Ferguson said. "He's having a real good year.

"This tournament is as good an indicator as there is, of showing if a guy is a true NHL prospect."

NUMBERS GAME

Leafs forward Jiri Tlusty has changed his number from 41 to 11. And with good reason. "I've been wearing No. 11 since I was six years old," he said. "I'm glad I could get it here."


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