Finger no stranger to morning practices

ROB LONGLEY

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

Yesterday's early-morning practice as punishment for the Leafs was nothing defenceman Jeff Finger hasn't seen before.

Finger recalled a nasty session when he was playing for Albany in the American Hockey League.

"We had a good one in Albany, a five a.m.er one day," Finger said yesterday. "We had to be at the rink at 4:30 after a game the night before. That was a real wakeup call."

Rookie defenceman Luke Schenn said he didn't see it happen much in his junior days, but his coaches had special treatment for players that were caught skipping class.

"We'd have a bad skate the next day but whoever got caught wouldn't have to skate," Schenn said. "Everybody else would be pretty mad at them. There'd be a few water bottles thrown."

PLENTY OF GOALS

Say this about the Leafs, their games have been entertaining in terms of goal scoring. Twelve of their past 17 contests have featured seven goals or more including Thursday's 6-3 loss to Phoenix and a 5-2 defeat to San Jose on Tuesday ... The Leafs are 2-1-1 in the first half of back-to-back games and 1-3 in the back end.

BURKE STAYS CLEAR

New Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke made it clear he has no intention of meddling in the game day decisions of his coach, Ron Wilson.

Burke was strong in his support of Wilson's decision to bench struggling defenceman Tomas Kaberle.

"I'm the easiest GM in the league for a coach to work with," Burke said. "I support whatever the coach does."

CLEAR THE PUCK

It would be a stretch to blame Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala for the 6-3 loss to Phoenix given the difficulty the team has had clearing rebounds.

"We have to be a little more sharp around the net," Toskala said. "We have to get the bounces and get the rebounds."


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