Wilson plays hookie

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

There was one significant absentee from Maple Leafs practice yesterday.

Coach Ron Wilson was nowhere to be found, leaving assistants Tim Hunter, Rob Zettler and Keith Acton to run the afternoon workout at the St. Pete Times Forum.

"We've run (practice) before," Hunter said. "The three of us sat down and discussed which drills would be run."

Wilson was back at his home in Hilton Head, S.C., attending to family business. He will be back behind the Leafs bench tonight when his team takes on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Cherry picking

Phil Oreskovic's phone hasn't stopped ringing.

Marlies forward Kris Newbury called. So, too, did friends and family members. There were so many, he can't remember them all.

All because he received such high praise for his play from Don Cherry during the Coach's Corner segment Saturday night.

"It's amazing," Oreskovic said. "I grew up watching Don on TV. It's definitely flattering. People are still calling about it. Unfortunately I didn't get to see it but I'm sure one of my buddies taped it for me."

Oreskovic praised his teammates for making him feel at home since being called up earlier this month.

"It's been so much fun," he said. "The guys have been great. I'm having trouble buying meals because these guys want to feed me."

Familiar face

Former Marlies defenceman Richard Petiot has registered two assists in the three games he has played for the Lightning since being dealt to Tampa Bay at the trade deadline.

"I'm happy with the way they treated me," Petiot said of the Toronto organization. "But this is definitely a great opportunity with a young defensive core here. I just want to go out there and make the best of it."

That includes making a good impression on the Leafs tonight.

"I want to play hard and show them that I can play," he said.

Lightning assistant coach Mike Sullivan likes what he sees.

"We're all encouraged with what he's brought to the table so far," Sullivan said. "He's got good size. He's been assertive. He's played with some confidence. I think his game has been simple and smart and efficient, and that's what we've asked of him. I think he's responded pretty well."


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