Leafs mulling worlds

MIKE ZEISBERGER

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

Matt Stajan would love to go if asked.

Vesa Toskala is still mulling over the option.

With the Maple Leafs having been eliminated from playoff contention, the pressing question for many players becomes: Will you play at the coming world championship if approached? The tournament runs from May 2-18 in Halifax and Quebec City.

"For sure I would," said Stajan, who represented Canada at the 2003 world juniors. "But I suspect there will be a lot of guys wanting to go, since the event is being held in Canada."

Toskala received an invitation to join Team Finland while having dinner a couple of weeks ago with Team Finland head honcho Jari Kurri and his entourage.

"Right now I would say it is 50-50," Toskala said.

American Jason Blake would welcome an offer to play.

"But right now the main thing is the four games we have left with the Leafs," he said. "I can't worry about the world championship right now."

Kazakh Nik Antropov and Ukrainian Alexei Ponikarovsky will not go.

Young Alex Steen, who represented Sweden in last year's tournament, has health issues to deal with before he can make any decision.

"I'd consider it but I'm still a little banged up," Steen said. "I'd have to check with the doctors."

Defenceman Anton Stralman, who was Steen's teammate at the 2007 event, is slated to suit up with the AHL Marlies for the playoffs, although he'd rather play at the worlds.

"The (Swedish) coach was here in early March and talked to Steener and Mats (Sundin) too," Stralman said. "Obviously if I was picked for the worlds I'd rather go there (than the Marlies). It's better for my development, I feel."

Czech rookie Jiri Tlusty said he already has been picked for the national team but will play for the Marlies instead.

Don't expect Sundin, by the way, to play for Sweden.

LOOSE LEAFS

Richard Peddie, president of MLSEL, reiterated yesterday that candidates with previous general manager's experience are "very much our preference."


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