Finger 'glad to be back in'

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:26 AM ET

Jeff Finger doesn't necessarily want answers.

The Maple Leafs defenceman just wants to play. Finger got that wish last night, suiting up against Washington after being a healthy scratch for three games in a row.

Luke Schenn was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Finger was paired with Garnet Exelby.

Finger, who is being paid $3.5 million US in 2009-10 and will draw that salary in each of the next two years, has been unable to secure a full-time spot in the Toronto lineup. Of the Leafs' 32 games, Finger has played in 16.

"I guess I would have to be surprised (with his roster status)," Finger said. "But that's what happens. Hockey is never a sure thing."

No one would argue with keeping Tomas Kaberle, Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin and Ian White in the lineup. And though Schenn had been better before laying an egg against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, few would have put up a fuss had he or Exelby been taken out earlier than last night.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson said Schenn needed to watch for a change.

'MENTAL MISTAKES'

"We have high hopes for Luke, but we think he has made a lot of mental mistakes recently," Wilson said. "We wanted to simply hit the reset button for him. He has some things he has to work on."

Finger was minus-3 versus the Bruins last Saturday and carried a minus-8 rating into the game last night, the worst rating on the Leafs. He also had two goals and six assists going into the contest.

"I didn't think it was that bad of a game (in Boston)," Finger said. "That's the way it has been this year. We have changed the lineup, so that's the way it goes. It's always hard to sit and watch. I'm just glad to be back in."

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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