Caps grab Kronwall

STEVE BUFFERY

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson said yesterday that the organization will continue calling up players from the Marlies this season despite the risk of losing some veteran farmhands on re-entry waivers, which happened yesterday with defenceman Staffan Kronwall.

Kronwall, who was drafted by the Leafs in 2002, was claimed by the Washington Capitals after being placed on waivers by the Leafs on Thursday. The Leafs had planned on using Kronwall in tonight's game in Montreal against the Canadiens, and gambled that no other NHL team would take the native of Jarfalla, Sweden on re-entry waivers.

There are other veteran players with the Marlies that would have to clear waivers before being able to dress for the Leafs.

"We shouldn't be afraid to bring guys up because another team may claim him. That would be unfair to the player," Wilson said.

Kronwall, 26, played 42 games with the AHL Marlies this season and has seven goals and 18 assists with a plus-1 rating. He played in 18 games in the NHL and was a minus-2 in 2007-08 for the Leafs.

"Our pro scouts see some upside in this player," Caps GM George McPhee told the Washington Post. "So we'll take a look."

DEFENCE IS THE WORD

Following Wednesday's 5-0 loss at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, Wilson skated his players extremely hard in practice on Thursday, In yesterday's practice, there was more instruction on the defensive part of the game.

"Just being in the right position and being a lot more aggressive defensively," Wilson said of practice. "That's what we have to get back to doing."

BIG ON AVERY

Few players inside the Leafs dressing room were surprised that the New York Rangers are considering bringing back hockey hothead Sean Avery to the team.

"I don't know Sean Avery personally, I played against him quite a bit when he was with the Rangers. But I tell ya, when he was in the lineup, and when he wasn't in the lineup with that team, there was a difference," said winger Jason Blake, who played for six season with the New York Islanders. "He's a great hockey player. I think he brings a lot to the table."


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