Neil a fit for Leafs?

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:44 PM ET

The Maple Leafs are on a youth kick of sorts, but reportedly the club is interested in Ottawa tough guy Chris Neil, who becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season. Neil turns 30 on June 18, but he's the kind of player Toronto general manager Brian Burke covets, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound bruiser who can score a bit. Heading into last night's game against the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre, Neil had three goals and seven assists in 59 games, though he has scored 10 goals or better three times playing for the Senators. He also led the Senators in penalty minutes this season with 146 (heading into last night's game).

Make room for Timmy

The Leafs recalled forward Tim Stapleton from the Marlies yesterday. Stapleton set a Marlies franchise record for points and assists this season. In 70 games, the Oak Park, Ill. native has 79 points on 28 goals and 51 assists. He currently ranks sixth (tie) in AHL scoring. He had one goal in three games in an earlier call-up with the Leafs. In his first NHL game on Feb. 26 at the New York Islanders he scored the game-winner in the shootout. He then registered his first NHL goal Feb. 28 against the Senators in Ottawa.

Mixed emotions

Leafs head coach Ron Wilson has mixed emotions about coaching the American team at the world championships this month.

"I'd rather be in the playoffs to be honest with you," Wilson said yesterday, following Toronto's morning skate at the ACC. "You know your team, and you're ready to go and all you do at this point is cross some T's and dot some i's and focus on playing one team.

"This (the worlds) is a situation where now you're taking all these other guys who are, to an extent, a little bit disappointed in the fact that they're not in the playoffs. The positive is many of them will be candidates for the Olympic team. So the motivation is going to be there. It's not unlike our situation here -- make an impression on us, so that we remember you in the summertime and at the next camp."

Around the crease

The Maple Leafs will have Easter Sunday off but gather at the ACC tomorrow for physicals and exit interviews -- mostly to go over what the organization expects from each player during summertime conditioning ... Wilson said yesterday that Senators winger Nick Foligno is a definite candidate to play for Team USA at the worlds.


Videos

Photos