Wilson wants Leafs to speak up

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

Ron Wilson thinks his players are missing some key sights and sounds of National Hockey League action -- and they are much poorer for it.

The Maple Leafs' coach devoted much of practice yesterday at the MasterCard Centre to getting some chatter going and having players look out for each other. The Leafs have allowed 10 goals in two games, on a high number of breakaways and odd-man rushes as they pinch or go for big hits without adequate backup.

Quiet

"It's very quiet out there," a concerned Wilson said of recent games. "Part of today was talking, identifying and verbalizing what you see, talking to your partner when he's not in position to scan the whole ice surface."

The Washington Capitals took full advantage in Saturday's 6-4 win and Leafs defenceman Mike Komisarek found yesterday a great refresher course on a team full of new faces.

"You like to think some guys have eyes in the back of their heads," Komisarek joked. "As defencemen we're looking up the ice as we skate backward, seeing what's going on and how the play is developing. It's different for the forwards who are back-checking and have to look over their shoulder.

"Letting them know, whether it's a point of your finger or a shout, makes a huge difference. Over-communication is a good thing. You'd much rather have more information, then there's less room for error.

"It's just the second game of the season, but that's one thing we're working on. especially the 3-on-2s and 3-on-3s, identifying guys on the rush, letting your partner know who's coming."

Wilson repeated his contention that Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin are trying to do too much to show fans their big-ticket salaries are worth it.

"You end up with tunnel vision," Wilson said.

LANCE.HORNBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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