January 13, 2010
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI AGENCY
As the Leafs fret whether they will lose two lottery picks in the Phil Kessel trade, the last of their pre-2008 first-rounders lined up against them across centre last evening.
Jiri Tlusty, who couldn't crack the lineup here, has found life with the Hurricanes much more agreeable, now that they have used him on recall a couple of times. And as the Leafs struggle to find scoring with Kessel firing blanks, Tlusty has been trying to stick, adding an assist on a game-winning goal earlier this week for three points in eight games.
"Now it's their problem," Tlusty said yesterday morning of Toronto's lack of offence. "Yes, they gave me a chance. But I'm getting more of a chance here (with added playing time)."
In 74 Leaf games spread over two seasons, Tlusty had 20 points. He did well with the Marlies, but never was able to sustain it with the Leafs. He was traded for power forward Philippe Paradis, the Hurricanes' first-round pick in 2009.
Defenceman Carl Gunnarsson was not quite 100% yesterday coming off his six-week elbow injury and was kept out until at least tomorrow's game against Philadelphia. Gunnarasson's elbow is not bothering him, but with only two or three full practices, his conditioning isn't where coach Ron Wilson wants it to be ... The goal-challenged Rickard Wallin was a healthy scratch to make room for callup Tyler Bozak ... Heading into last night, 31 of 54 power-play points generated by the Leafs had come from defenceman Tomas Kaberle (20) and centre Matt Stajan (11).