Leafs Report

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

NO PRESSURE, PHIL

A bar on The Esplanade near the ACC advertised last night's game on its outdoor blackboard in bold lettters: Tonight, 7:30, Phil Kessel vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning.

If Kessel was nervous about his first Leafs game, hopefully he took a different route to the rink. But if his six-week layoff since the trade to recover from shoulder surgery had an advantage, it has allowed him to become familiar with the city, his teammates and the daily media grind.

"Obviously there's pressure," Kessel said yesterday morning. "They really love hockey here and I don't want to do anything to disappoint them. Hopefully, we win some games."

General manager Brian Burke has said many times that the 22-year-old Kessel might not come across like a star, but he'll grow into the job.

"He won't win any public speaking contests," Burke said. "But I've watched his personal maturation from a shy kid when he was drafted to a guy who is much more outgoing, much more comfortable in his role."

LOOSE LEAFS

The Leafs could lose centre Wayne Primeau at any moment. His wife Leanne is due with their third child and Primeau joked with reporters yesterday morning that she is always on time ... Toronto did not win a home game in October for only the second time in club history. In 1945-46, the Leafs tied the Bruins 1-1 in the only game played that month ... The Tampa power play went into last night's game in a 1-for-15 slump ... Luca Cereda, the Swiss forward picked in the first round by the Leafs in 1999, whose NHL hopes were dashed by a heart ailment, is now coaching the junior club in his home town of Ambri.


Videos

Photos