Crunch time is here at Maple Leafs' training camp.
More than 30 players are still in the main body, and a few yet to play with the halfway point of exhibition season coming tonight.
Some of the pressure was lifted when forwards Andre Deveaux, Ben Ondrus, Alex Foster and Ryan Hamilton were placed on waivers, all expected to clear at noon today and join the Toronto Marlies.
Jason Allison's comeback attempt could be decided tonight here against the Pittsburgh Penguins or tomorrow in Buffalo. The 34-year-old forward was ill yesterday and didn't practise.
Centre Nazem Kadri will also play tonight, tomorrow or both, but still faces a return to junior if he can't crack the top two lines.
Coach Ron Wilson still intends to get defenceman Mike Van Ryn and goalie Jonas Gustavsson in some exhibitions, though he has reserved three of the five remaining games for Vesa Toskala, including Sunday's final tune-up against the Buffalo Sabres.
Van Ryn (knee) is just returning to 100% shape, while Gustavsson's irregular heart rate is no longer an issue and the scar in his groin area from a catheter ablation to fix the heart problem has healed. He should practise with the team today.
Defenceman Jeff Finger (strained oblique muscle) will be out a few days ... As newcomer Phil Kessel watched his first practice yesterday from rinkside, Wilson said he will likely carry one extra forward into the regular season, meaning two spots for the very competitive battle on defence instead of one. That's good news for Ian White and Jonas Frogren ... Wilson won't write off Jamal Mayers, despite the arrival of like-minded physical forwards Colton Orr and Wayne Primeau. "Jamal doesn't need to prove anything," Wilson said. "We want to build a really good grind line and he's capable of doing that and killing penalties. He's in great shape and works hard in practice. You can't ever have enough of those guys." ... Wilson says he's been "unfair" to centre John Mitchell, playing him at wing much of the camp when he could have been battling Matt Stajan and Mikhail Grabovski at his natural position.