JFJ might help Yzerman

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

Don't be surprised to see John Ferguson join Steve Yzerman's management team for the world hockey championship this year.

Ferguson is expected to join Florida Panthers general manager Jacques Martin and Dallas Stars GM Doug Armstrong as part of the braintrust for the Canadian entry at the tournament, which runs from April 27 to May 13 in Moscow. They would report directly to Yzerman, who will serve as the GM of Team Canada.

While Ferguson could not be reached for comment, it is a safe bet that the Maple Leafs GM would rather be watching his own Toronto team compete in the playoffs while the worlds are going on. Even if he were to remain behind in North America under that scenario, he still would help select the Team Canada roster.

In order for Ferguson's Leafs to reach the post-season, however, they will have to be successful in the rest of the regular-season schedule, in which they play five games in eight days.

That run begins tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins followed by a date in New York against the Rangers tomorrow.

Having suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss in Atlanta on Thursday, Leafs head coach Paul Maurice saw 15 players arrive at Lakeshore Lions Arena for an optional practice yesterday.

"I spent the first 15 minutes of the flight home trying to convince guys NOT to skate," Maurice said. "It shows you that this is a very resilient team."

However, it's a team that has dropped all three of its encounters with the Pittsburgh Crosbys this season.

"We must stay out of the penalty box," Maurice said. "I think they have 13 power-play goals against us."


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