Questions abound in Leaf-land

GARY LOEWEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

The Maple Leafs season is one-quarter cooked, which will get you about 20 cents in the U.S.

To mark the occasion, here are 10 questions -- five with answers:

Many fans yearn to see the Leafs go into the tank to ensure a high draft pick next June. The theory is that, instead, with Vesa Toskala in goal, the Leafs are destined to finish in ninth place.

1) But if the Leafs were to trade the cheesy Toskala now, wouldn't they actually get better?

2) Wasn't the difference on Saturday night against the Chicago Blackhawks the fact that the Leafs were neither Eager nor Sharp?

3) If general manager-in-waiting Brian Burke is truly a families man why wouldn't he take the season off and wait for a spring bidding war?

4) What were the instructions the ref gave Matt Stajan before his penalty shot, "Skate real slowly and take a weak shot?"

5) Ryan Hollweg has played exactly half of the Leafs' 20 games. If he had played them all would he be twice as valuable?

6) Was Ben Eager's hit on Mikhail (Greta Grabo) Grabovski a dirty one?

Eager was going in for the hit when Grabovski turned to the boards. Maybe if Grabovski was in, ah, better shape, he would have managed to piroutte away from the hit.

And it's not as if Grabovski got one of his fat lips on the play.

7) Hasn't the Marlies' Justin Pogge trained enough already for the No. 1 job in goal with the Leafs?

Not as such. Pogge ranks 27th among AHL goalies with a 2.84 goals-against average. He's no Scott Clemmensen.

8) Is Alex Steen still in the NHL?

Haven't seen him lately. It could be he has gone into semi-retirement in honour of his fellow herring fisherman, Mats Sundin. We don't know if either has started skating yet. Next time he'll be skating it'll be with the St. Louis Blues. Steen was traded yesterday along with Carlo Colaiacovo for winger Lee Stempniak.

9) Would any list containing cheap shots at the Leafs be complete without mentioning Tomas Kaberle? No.

10) After the loss Saturday night to the Chicago Blackhawks wasn't it apparent that Kaberle couldn't microwave Brian Campbell's soup? Hmm, Cream of Kaberle.

SLIM HOPES

Could it be that the Raptors' disappointing 6-7 record is because they have too many 6-10 skinny guys?

MOOSE IS COOKED

So Mike Mussina is retiring from the New York Yankees after a 20-win season.

Apparently after the sudden return of Cito Gaston as Blue Jays manager, Mussina figured that this league wasn't big enough for both of them.

Mussina told the Yankees he would be obligated to pitch poorly out of fear of making the all-star team.


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