Leafs Report

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

INSTANT CAP SPACE

Though it was a tough way to achieve it, the shelving of defenceman Mike Komisarek for the final 25 games of the season after a month in limbo stretches the Leafs' salary cap room to $6 million US, should they seek to grab another player by the

March 3 NHL trade deadline.

Having loosened the NHL trade log jam with the Dion Phaneuf deal, it's expected general manager Brian Burke will be listening to serious offers for rent-a-players such as winger Alexei Ponikarovsky and Lee Stempniak, but looking to recover draft picks instead, while building a cash reserve for the summer to chase a scorer in free agency.

LOOSE LEAFS

Leaf draft pick Mikhail Stefanovich of the Quebec Remparts is the CHL player of the week, scoring six goals with five assists in three games and a plus-7 for the QMJHL Quebec Remparts ... Luke Schenn, Jay Rosehill and Tyler Bozak were special guests at assistant coach Keith Acton's new Boston Pizza restaurant in Stouffville on Wednesday, bringing out a crowd of diners and autograph seekers. "He's done a lot for us and we wanted to do something for him," Bozak said."

'RIGHT THING'

Burke said there was "no push-back" from Komisarek or his agent when he laid it on the line to put the Leafs' interests ahead of being a hero and playing in pain for Team USA at the Olympics.

"I have to imagine it was an agonizing decision," Burke said of Komisarek and Devils' injured defenceman Paul Martin, who also withdrew this week. "But they did the right thing."


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