Mayor likes new bench boss

LANCE HORNBY

, Last Updated: 4:01 AM ET

New Leafs coach Ron Wilson has a fan in Toronto's mayor David Miller.

With no local team to root for in recent playoffs, Hizzoner admitted to staying up late to watch Wilson's San Jose Sharks this past spring.

"His teams played a very strong system," Miller observed.

Miller was asked if he or Wilson has the most hot-seat job in town.

"They're both tough," Miller said with a laugh. "Of course, I'm up for re-election every four years and he'll be getting re-evaluated by the fans and the media every four weeks."

PROSPECTS BATTLE

Leaf prospects begin a four-team rookie tournament this evening in Kitchener against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers also are involved.

General manager Cliff Fletcher, Wilson and development coach Dallas Eakins welcomed the players to a Toronto hotel Thursday night at a team dinner.

"In Ron's opening speech, he mentioned there were players at the Sharks' rookie camp which the San Jose coaches didn't know, but they not only did well, they made it to the NHL," Fletcher said. "One of them was Marc-Edouard Vlasic (who jumped from the Quebec Remparts to a full-time job)."

Fletcher said he would not put extra duties and pressure on No. 1 pick Luke Schenn at the camp, preferring to see how the defenceman does in scrimmages at the main Leafs camp next week.

LOOSE LEAFS

Hockey operations director and assistant GM Jeff Jackson has added the title of Marlies GM to his portfolio ... Fletcher and his wife Linda have spent the past few days in a hotel after a fire in their downtown condo. The Fletchers' residence was a few doors away from the flames and while both were absent, firemen had to rescue their pet minature schnauzer, Chase, from smoke inhalation.


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