KADRI FEELING THE HEAT
Nazem Kadri had to admit the city's fascination with his future as a Leaf and the headlines his bosses have created with their critique of his play has been a lot more attention than he expected.
Assistant coach Tim Hunter weighed in Wednesday morning, warning Kadri was running out of bullets.
"When you haven't had a great training camp and the coaches show faith in you, then you'd better take advantage of it," Hunter said of putting him in Wednesday's lineup.
"Hopefully I'll be sitting here in a week or so laughing about this situation," Kadri said. "As of right now, there's nothing to laugh about. I just have to get my head in the right place and work things out.
"Throughout my young career, I've faced some high pressure situations and handled those well. But this is a whole new level of pressure. All of Toronto is a big supporter of this team and I just want to do my best.
"I know I haven't played my best, but today, I'm looking to change things around.
"That's when you kind of have to lean on your family. They can keep you grounded at the same time, but they've been my supporters since Day 1, good and bad. They're a huge part of this."
NO BRONZE RE-LEAF
The St. Louis Blues have now put a third statue of one of their signature players outside their arena, joining other teams who've put prominent players or sports' themes in bronze to give fans a photo op.
Brett Hull, in classic goal pose, will join Al MacInnis and Bernie Federko. They join a statue of Wayne Gretzky in Edmonton, Bobby Orr in Boston, Maurice Richard in Montreal (on the site of the old Forum) and singer Kate Smith in Philadelphia. Perhaps the most famous arena sports' statue is the soaring Michael Jordan at the United Center in Chicago.
But the Leafs, despite lots of room to play on two sides of the Air Canada Centre as well as an atrium, continue to be cool to such an idea.
"We have not discussed it," president and CEO Richard Peddie said. "I don't know where it could be placed in relation to the cones (the giant spotlights at the West Entrance). And if we have a player statue, you would get disagreements over which player it should be from Leaf history."
Winger Kris Versteeg received his Blackhawks Cup ring Wednesday at a team ceremony in Chicago. He and farmhand teammate Danny Richmond were almost late for their flight when Richmond stayed out on the ice to practice with the Leafs' scratches. "Now to win one with these guys," Versteeg said bravely ... Saturday's Road Hockey To Conquer Cancer event at Ontario Place, for the Princess Margaret Hospital. For more information, visit www.TeamUpToConquerCancer.caor call 1-877-541-4646.
Maple Leafs' Francois Beauchemin gets a shot in against the Senators Alexei Kovalev during the second period of their pre-season game at Scotiabank Place last night. The Leafs defencemen, including Dion Phaneuf, Mike Komisarek and Beauchemin delivered a number of big hits in the Leafs 4-3 win.