Hold your horses, Van Ryn

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Mike Van Ryn had immigration issues -- at least his horses did.

It made for a long journey from Florida, one in which he transported two horses by trailer to his parents' farm in southwestern Ontario.

"It was long," he said. "It took three days. We needed to get the proper paperwork for the horses."

With his horses now enjoying their new home, Van Ryn finally had the chance to pull on a Maple Leafs jersey yesterday -- albeit a practice one -- and skate with some of his new teammates at Lakeshore Lions Arena.

"It was cool," said the veteran defenceman, acquired last week from the Florida Panthers for Bryan McCabe and a draft pick. "Even being in the dressing room was special. I know it sounds corny but what Canadian kid didn't want to put this uniform on one day?"

Loose Leafs

Coach Ron Wilson's plan, at least for the start of training camp, is to put Alex Steen at centre and have Nik Antropov lining up on the wing ... The fact that Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey met with Mats Sundin for two hours Saturday shows how serious the Habs are about landing the big Swede ... Mark Bell has ditched the facial protection he was forced to wear late last season after undergoing surgery in January to repair a broken orbital bone suffered in a fight with Pittsburgh's Ryan Malone ... As expected, Corey Hirsch has been hired as the Leafs goaltending coach, Graeme Townshend was brought on as skating coach, and Tom Watt and Dennis Bonvie join the scouting staff.

Briefly

Veteran defenceman Chris Chelios signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings yesterday ... Florida Panthers defenceman Keith Ballard signed a six-year extension that will keep him with the team until 2014-15 ...The Canadian national junior team will play exhibition games in Toronto, Mississauga and Hamilton ahead of the start of the Dec. 25-Jan. 5 world junior hockey championship in Ottawa.


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