Wilson gets back to work

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:37 PM ET

They had just lost on back-to-back nights and had a long bus ride home from Buffalo the night before, but there was no rest for the weary and the struggling today.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson put his team through one of his toughest practices of the season following Wednesday's 5-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres and a 4-3 overtime collapse at home to Florida the previous night.

"You know it's coming," Leafs defenceman Mike Van Ryn said after the 70-minute practice, the last 15 of which was dedicated to brutal skating drills. "We've got to start competing more and it starts in practice. We knew it was going to be hard.

"Everyone in this room is frustrated. From top to bottom we didn't play well.

"It was one of those games. It's got to stop. We've had too many of them."

In the shutout loss to the Sabres, the Leafs had one of their least competitive efforts of the season and Wilson made them pay for it this morning, though the coach had a different definition.

"It wasn't punishment, it was conditioning," Wilson said. "We're going to do a lot more conditioning going forward. It's something I can (control) and I will.

"When (players) leave the rink, they should feel tired and they didn't last night."

Meanwhile, as expected, the team returned goaltender Justin Pogge to the Marlies this morning after his latest one-goal callup. As a result, defenceman Jonas Frogren was back on the ice.

As well, defenceman Staffan Kronwall was placed on recallable waivers today. If he clears, Wilson said he plans to promote him to the Leafs lineup for Saturday's game in Montreal.

The Leafs set out for a three-game road trip tomorrow which includes games against the Habs, in Sunrise, Fla. against the Panthers on Tuesday and Thursday in Tampa to face the Lightning.


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