Wilson puts focus on drills

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

There was lots of skating, teaching and defence yesterday through two sessions of the Leafs' opening day of training camp.

But in Ron Wilson's opinion, the scrimmaging can wait for the glut of pre-season games that begin tomorrow at the Air Canada Centre.

"A lot of teams would have scrimmaged today and they don't do any drills or don't do any teaching and just hammer away," Wilson said after nearly five hours on the Ricoh Coliseum ice. "Our first couple of exhibition games I will view almost as scrimmages for some guys to show what they can do."

As for who will do the scrimmaging and when, don't expect to see anything resembling a projected starting lineup early in those pre-season games.

"You have to have kind of a master plan, which I do," Wilson said of assembling a lineup for the busy two weeks ahead. "I've got a lot of masters right now -- scouts, the general manager, and others who want to see certain people in certain situations.

"I'll try to address those needs early on and the last five exhibition games are mine. With nine games in 14 days, you want to make sure you don't kill your team."

CENTRE STAGE

Alex Steen may not yet be the centre of attention as the Leafs re-tool, but he believes he has what it takes to, at the very least, centre one of the four lines this season, his fourth as an NHLer.

"We had a brief talk with both (general manager Cliff Fletcher) and Ron and it seems that's how they want to start it," Steen said. "But a lot of things happen during the course of training camp and the season and there are different line combinations that work. We'll see what happens, but I feel very comfortable playing centre."

He has the support of his coach, too, as Wilson intends to allow Steen to audition for the position. "I know deep down Alex wants to be a centre," Wilson said. "I want to challenge him to show me he can be a centre and do the job defensively as well."


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