Time to dream for Leafs

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

One was age 34 and a bit folically challenged, the other wide-eyed and barely out of his teens.

But Jason Allison and Robert Slaney were both counting their blessings on the first day of Maple Leafs' training camp and intent on showing they can score.

Allison, who has been out of the game since 2005-06, passed his medical and now looks forward to some intense action when the scrimmage tournament starts today.

"One of the things I missed the most was competing at a high level," said Allison, the North Yorker granted a tryout by general manager Brian Burke.

"I had a point a game the last time I was here (60 in 66). I wasn't as healthy then as I am now and you're not much different physically from 31 to 34, instead of 38 or 39. I'd missed three years before playing that (2005-06) year in Toronto and playing one season out of six helps, believe it or not. Guys who quit in their mid-30s are usually beaten up or don't want to do it any more because of the stress it puts on you."

EXPERIENCE

But Slaney was looking forward to just such an experience this week. The 6-foot-2 Newfoundlander, who lit up the Quebec junior league with 81 points for Cape Breton last year, carried that strong play into the rookie tournament in Kitchener.

"I'd never thought I'd be here," the free agent said, looking around the MasterCard Centre. "I watched Mike Komisarek on TV with the Canadiens, but this was the first time I'd seen him in person. Wow, he's a big boy and I was nervous at first, but you realize he's just one of the guys. I was honoured working out with some of them this summer and I'm getting used to it now.

"It's a big camp for me. Everything the coaches know about me right now is all hearsay, so I want to prove what I can do."

It's hoped some offence can be found in such long shots, though Burke continues to monitor developments with Phil Kessel. Burke said yesterday that no negotiations on a trade with Boston had proceeded, though its believed Kessel wants to play for Toronto as a restricted free agent signing or via trade if the Bruins can't fit him in under their salary cap.

LANCE.HORNBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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