ITCHING TO GO
If there is one game Garnet Exelby wanted to get in for, it's tonight against his old team, the Atlanta Thrashers.
But unless coach Ron Wilson decides that the seven-goal beating the Leafs suffred Saturday warrants punishing a defenceman, then Exelby will sit for the 12th time in 16 games.
"I'm not happy sitting out every night, bottom line," Exelby said. "The team has been doing better, absolutely, which is great, but I don't want to be a spare part, sitting around the press box, secluded from the team.
"It's funny how things change. When I was in Atlanta last year, things were going well at the end of the season. Now, I'm here and not playing. It's not the way I expected to start my tenure with the Leafs, but that's the way it is right now."
Winger Christian Hanson was demoted to the Marlies yesterday after recording one assist in six games. Rickard Wallin might return to the lineup or Wilson could go to seven defencemen ... Remember when the Leafs hadn't won after seven games and GM Brian Burke said a 14-7 record in the next 21 would restore order? The 21st game was Saturday and the Leafs went 8-7-6, or just two points less than Burke's goal ... Not wishing to risk goaltender Vesa Toskala in yesterday's meaningless skills competition after one game back from a groin injury, the Leafs called up Oshawa-born rookie Andrew Engelage to partner with Joey MacDonald. Engelage made it to the rink with minutes to spare before the noon start.