TORONTO - If Tim Brent had his way, the Maple Leafs would not be taking a break this week.
With two goals on Monday night in Carolina, giving him three in two games, and a couple of chances Tuesday in Tampa Bay, the Cambridge-born centre is just getting into a comfort zone on offence that will have to be put on hold until next week.
ďEvery league Iíve played in, Iíve been an offensive guy,Ē Brent said on Wednesday. ďThis year, I was given the role of being a checking line forward. Thatís what I concentrated on for the first while. But lately Iíve tried to be good defensively, while trying to get back that offensive touch. It kind of all came together in Carolina.Ē
Brent was a 20-goal, 40-assist scorer with St. Mikeís in the OHL and had 20 goals with Rockford of the AHL just before coming to the Leafs as a free agent in the summer of 2009. He was kept ahead of Nazem Kadri and Christian Hanson at camp, but the surprise decision was quickly justified when he scored in each of his first two games and did a good job shadowing some big-name players. But there was a scorer waiting to break out and when Nikolai Kulemin was hurt early in the Carolina game, Brentís fourth line had some extra ice.
ďI probably thought about (defence) too much to make sure I was staying here. But I realize I am going to able to create chances and get chances myself. It was one of those nights where everything was working and I felt good. I ended up getting a little more ice time in the third period than normal and wanted to take advantage of that.
ďIíd like to keep going, but Iíll take a few days, relax and let the body recuperate a little bit and then hopefully come back the way I finished. Iím thinking of going ice-fishing with my dad up north or catching a flight somewhere tomorrow.Ē