Nik's no crazy Kazakh

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

Don't look for Nik Antropov to adopt a WWE persona as The Wild Man From Kazakhstan.

A contrite Antropov hopes to put last Thursday's fit in Carolina behind him, after he broke his stick against the boards following a 3-2 overtime loss and threw the shaft towards referees Mike Leggo and Don Koharski. That landed him an automatic three-game suspension, that ends after Thursday's game against Montreal.

Antropov, who had been hit with a questionable hooking call in overtime, did not opt for the lengthy appeal process.

"When you look at the video, the (stick) didn't go to the left or the right, it went straight at them," Antropov said yesterday.

Coach Paul Maurice made sure Antropov watched the video of his outburst a few times.

"He didn't mean any disrespect," Maurice said. "(English) is not his first language and he doesn't seek the attention. But he acted inappropriately."

LEAFS GET HELP IN BID

The Leafs have joined forces with Toronto tourism for their bid to host the 2012 world junior tournament.

Unsuccessful in their 2009 quest, with Ottawa the eventual winner, the Leafs now have the city's support, and three arenas at their disposal, the Air Canada Centre, Ricoh Coliseum and if needed, Oshawa's General Motors Centre.

"It's a great event for a hockey-centric city," said Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. vice-president Bob Hunter. "We applied once, as did the Toronto Road Runners, so hopefully it's third time lucky. We'll do a few things differently this time."

Calgary, London, Halifax, Saskatoon and Winnipeg also applied to Hockey Canada for either the 2010, 2012 tournament or both. Hunter said Toronto chose the latter, believing that Eastern cities applying right after Ottawa's event would be at a disadvantage.

KILGER STILL MISSING

Interim general manager Cliff Fletcher says winger Chad Kilger is still on leave for personal reasons and will not play tonight against the Florida Panthers. Kilger has missed two games already and it's likely Maurice will take his lack of game conditioning into account when deciding on whether he plays in Montreal.

QUOTABLE

"We took it hard, right to the bones." -- New Englander and former high school quarterback Hal Gill on the Patriots' perfect season ending in the Super Bowl.

LOOSE LEAFS

The Leafs became the last team to meet with incoming NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly yesterday. They were updated on various union issues during a 90-minute meeting at Lakeshore Lions Arena.


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