Ten Leafs questions, only five answers

GARY LOEWEN

, Last Updated: 3:21 AM ET

Ten games into the season and the rebuilding Maple Leafs are in the thick of the playoff race.

Not that it means anything this early in the season.

General manager Cliff Fletcher assured us last month that there were "rocky days ahead" for the Leafs. The suits upstairs claimed they weren't budgeting for a playoff appearance. Even coach Ron Wilson muttered something about how winning wasn't everything.

Not that those things mean anything, either, this early in the season.

So, 10 games into the season, here are 10 questions -- five with answers.

Questions answered:

- Does Fletcher, the old Silver Fox, still have it as a general manager? Brian Burke can only dream of being so shrewd.

- Can injury-riddled defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo ever stay healthy? Sure, if he doesn't play.

- Is Jiri Tlusty going to have a breakout season and become a first-line sniper? Uh, not as such.

- Has anybody seen Alex Steen? Yes, Steen is alive! He even scored on Wednesday night against the Devils, in front of dozens of fans in New Jersey.

- Is coach Wilson a genius? Yes! See, with the shootout looming, how he resisted replacing Vesa Toskala in goal with Ian White (heck, he plays defence and forward already ... when he plays), sparking the Leafs to victory?

Questions unanswered:

- Can rookie Luke Schenn make it through the grind of an 82-game schedule?

- If Mats Sundin comes back, will he mess up the chemistry?

- If the Leafs remain in the middle of the pack, should Fletcher deal veterans to improve their draft prospects?

- Will the Leafs acquire a guy who can actually win a fight?

- Does Ryan Hollweg have anything to offer an NHL team, anything at all?

KINGS COME ON DOWN

Four members of the Los Angeles Kings -- Dustin Brown, Derek Armstrong, Kyle Calder and Denis Gauthier -- are scheduled to appear next Wednesday on a hockey-themed episode of the CBS game show The Price is Right.

The show's host may be familiar to you. He is Drew Carey, former comedian.

Details are somewhat hush-hush, but the Kings will appear in a showcase to display prizes (doesn't the show have gorgeous, well-educated models to do that job?), on which contestants will bid.

Each of the prizes has a hockey theme. That's the hush-hush part. But the prizes could be:

- Lunch with Gary Bettman.

- Two tickets to a Los Angeles Kings game, which can be exchanged for a Los Angeles Lakers T-shirt.

- Two tickets to a Kings game, and an explanation, courtesy of the commissioner, of why Hollywoodland has two NHL teams.

Two suggestions:

Given the dwindling interest in the NHL in California, shouldn't the Kings be appearing instead on Jeopardy?

If the game show wants hockey players, why not Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and former NHLer Tyler Wright, in which case it could be The Price is Wright?


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