Leafs to get much-needed practice time

Luke Schenn talks to assistant coach Keith Acton during practice at the Mastercard arena, Toronto....

Luke Schenn talks to assistant coach Keith Acton during practice at the Mastercard arena, Toronto. (Michael Peake/SUN MEDIA)

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

With three games in four nights, the Leafs have a chance to put a rare three days of consecutive practice to good use.

After facing the Stanley Cup champion Penguins at home, the Leafs head to New York for a Columbus Day match against the Rangers and complete their first back-to-back the next night at home against Colorado.

The Leafs worked this week on improving communication, reading situations better and getting some special teams' drills down pat.

"It's very important we get some wins and build up some steam," centre John Mitchell said. "We don't want to be looking towards Monday or Tuesday's games, just (tonight)."

Defenceman Luke Schenn spoke for many of his colleagues.

"We haven't been solid as a whole yet," Schenn said. "When all six of us go out and play the way we're capable, we'll find success. So far, we haven't worked enough together at all. That's why sometimes it looks a little bit sloppy."

Bitter about bite

The Leafs have some extra bite in their game this season, but hopefully not as much as the Flyers' Scott Hartnell.

There was strong evidence he chomped Kris Letang of the Penguins Thursday night during some roughhousing at the end of a 5-4 Pittsburgh win. Letang still had a discoloured right ring finger yesterday at Ricoh Coliseum where the Pens practised in preparation for tonight's game against Toronto.

"What happened, happened and (other) people can take care of it, they're on the case," Letang said of possible disciplinary action against Hartnell.

The night before, an angry Letang said the incident sets the tone for another potentially ugly series between the state rivals.

"We have (five) more games to play against them and we know they're about doing stupid things like that at the end of the game," he said.

Hartnell, who said he's never been accused of such behaviour, tried to dance around questions on Thursday.

"He had his hands in my face, doing the face wash and we were rolling around. I can't say what happened...well, there was no blood anyways."

Loose Leafs

The late Leaf Hall of Famer Teeder Kennedy will be honoured before Tuesday's game against the Avs...Coach Ron Wilson took another shot at the media for "waterboarding" Vesa Toskala one more day about his struggles, hoping to get him to "crack". In fact, yesterday's short session with the goalie was about facing the Penguins and the role of goalie consultant Francois Allaire and Toskala was obliging in his answers.


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