Buds get message on messaging

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:17 PM ET

TORONTO - Among the off-ice instruction the Maple Leafs prospects are receiving this week is what the club considers appropriate use of Twitter, Facebook and social media.

“Most of it is preventative, a life skill for them” said Jim Hughes, the club’s director of player development.

Basically, the players were warned not to tweet about internal club matters such as injuries, or use Twitter as a sounding board to criticize teammates, league officials, trash talk opponents or perhaps worse, run down another NHL city. Religion and politics are discouraged, and salary disclosure is another no-no in the wake of Tampa goalie Dan Ellis going public last year that his big salary wasn’t big enough.

The youngsters were encouraged to use it as promotional tool for the team and to connect with fans, who flock to follow them. Ex-Leaf Tim Brent, an avid fisherman, was quick to ask people in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina about the best spots to drop a line.

Cop shop stop

After Thursday morning’s final game of the scrimmage tournament, the Leafs will be guests at the Toronto Police College, where it’s expected they’ll be addressed by Chief Bill Blair and see some of the facilities such as the firing range.

“They’ll listen to some talk about protocol and get some different pieces of advice,” Hughes said. “It’s just another educational (tool), someone from law enforcement to give the kids advice and maybe talk about their experiences. It will be something different, like going to the OPP training facility last year.”

Heard of Heard?

The offensive surprise of camp so far must be Mitchell Heard of the Plymouth Whalers, an undrafted OHLer, with three goals in two games. He’s centring a line with 2011 draft pick David Broll and Harvard tryout Conor Morrison.

“We have to place some value on that (scoring),” Hughes said. “Heard had a strong game Tuesday and a strong day today. He’s a guy who continues to make himself a conversation piece.”

The 19-year-old Bowmanville, Ont., native had 50 points in 66 games and is not shutting the door on a pro career because he was overlooked in the draft.

“I wasn’t drafted into the Ontario Hockey League, either, but I’m there now,” Heard said. “I gladly came here and I’m making the most of this opportunity.

“Broll and Morrison are getting pucks in deep and I’m trying to focus on the little things, staying on the defensive side of the puck.”


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