End of the line for Luke

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

Luke Richardson, the Maple Leafs' first-round pick way back in 1987, is on the verge of retirement.

Richardson, who never played a game in the minors after he was rushed into the NHL by the Leafs 21 years ago, has been placed on waivers by the Ottawa Senators and is expected to hang up his skates if he clears at noon today.

The 39-year-old Richardson played in just two games for Ottawa this season and has been a spotter in the press box for the coaching staff.

"He is a great guy to have around the players," Senators general manager Bryan Murray said. "Hopefully he can help us within other areas."

In 1,417 career games, Richardson has 35 goals and 166 assists and 2,055 penalty minutes.

NO BIG DEAL

Leafs coach Ron Wilson, who was not at practice on Wednesday when Dominic Moore and Jeff Finger had a tussle, rolled his eyes when asked about it yesterday.

"It got blown out of proportion," Wilson said.

"That happens a lot. It's not a big deal."

SKIRMISH OF ONTARIO

With the Leafs missing the playoffs the past three seasons, the rivalry with the Senators has lost a bit of lustre.

"If you don't play each other in the playoffs, you can't simulate a playoff series," Sens centre Jason Spezza said. "That would be where we have lost a little bit of the spark.

"It seems like our rivals now are Buffalo and Pittsburgh because we have played them so much the past couple of years. We don't know (the Leafs) as well. You just hate the jersey, I guess."

One player who wanted to put some sizzle back in the rivalry was Senators defenceman Brendan Bell. A third-round pick of the Leafs in 2001, Bell wound up playing in 32 games for the Leafs before he was traded to Phoenix in February 2007.

Bell, who signed with his home town Sens in July, skated in his fourth game for Ottawa last night.

"It makes it a little more interesting, that's for sure," Bell said. "Coming up with the Leafs was a great experience."


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