Leafs' Brent looks to up his goal production

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:54 PM ET

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.

“Every league I’ve played in, I’ve been an offensive guy,” Brent said on Wednesday. “This year, I was given the role of being a checking line forward. That’s what I concentrated on for the first while. But lately I’ve tried to be good defensively, while trying to get back that offensive touch. It kind of all came together in Carolina.”

Brent was a 20-goal, 40-assist scorer with St. Mike’s 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, Brent’s fourth line had some extra ice.

“I 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.

“I’d like to keep going, but I’ll take a few days, relax and let the body recuperate a little bit and then hopefully come back the way I finished. I’m thinking of going ice-fishing with my dad up north or catching a flight somewhere tomorrow.”


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