Leafs likely won't be guinea pigs

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:05 PM ET

TORONTO - The Maple Leafs’ generous offer to let their team and the Air Canada Centre be “guinea pigs” for any proposed rule changes the NHL wanted to try with in pre-season games likely won’t get accepted.

The 30 general managers, the competition committee and the board of governors haven’t all had a good look at what the league studied at its August research and development camp in Toronto. The NHL Players Association must also approve any testing.

So it’s unlikely fans will see such ideas as shallow nets that encourage wraparounds, which was a hit with most players and officials at the camp. Different faceoff rules, line changes and helmet radios for the referees are also on hold. Toronto general manager Brian Burke was interested in seeing his bear hug hit rule in effect in an NHL game. Toronto opens an eight-game exhibition schedule Monday at home against Ottawa.

The ACC must comply with the NHL’s wish to have the new round-edged, spring-loaded plexiglass stanchions in place at any potentially dangerous turnbuckles around the benches. All 30 teams must have them in place by opening night of the regular season.

GANG'S ALL HERE

Toronto will have 70 players (43 forwards, 21 defencemen and six goalies) reporting for medicals on Friday morning at the MasterCard Centre. Practices commence at 10 a.m. the following day.

Among that number is expected to be defenceman Luke Schenn, who hopes to have a new contract done by the time the Leafs hit the ice.

A GALLANT GUY

An old Leafs adversary from the Norris Division days will be on the ice Saturday. Not to mix it up, but to help Ron Wilson, new assistants Greg Cronin and Scott Gordon, skating coach Graeme Townshend and goalie coach Francois Allaire.

Gerard Gallant, who played with the Red Wings before taking up coaching, will be a guest instructor. He was head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets a few years ago, but is currently with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, where he was CHL coach of the year in 2010.

Sunday, Scott Sandelin from Minnesota-Duluth will be lending a hand. Ex-NHLer Trevor Stienburg from St. Mary’s University will be an off-ice coach/observer on both days. Toronto-born Enrico Blasi of the Miami (Ohio) University Redhawks has been at recent camps, but he’s back there working with freshman forward Tyler Biggs, Toronto’s first pick in the 2011 draft.

NUMBERS GAME

Defenceman Tomas Kaberle’s No. 15, which he wore since 1998, has been re-assigned to centre Matthew Lombardi. Another rushing defenceman, Jake Gardiner, has the reverse of Kaberle’s digits. The departed Fredrik Sjostrom’s No. 11 has gone to another penalty killer/fourth liner, Philippe Dupuis, formerly with the Avalanche ... Marlie forward Brayden Irwin, who wasn’t re-signed in the summer is at camp on a pro tryout contract ... Will Acton, son of departed assistant coach Keith Acton, returns for a shot with the Marlies after playing late last season.


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