January 2, 2006
(TORONTO) -- The fans came to see "The Kid" Sidney Crosby on Monday night, but it was one of the Maple Leafs "kids" who made the biggest contribution in Toronto's 3-2 win.
Alex Steen wasn't expected to be back in the lineup against Pittsburgh but the Leafs and their fans were glad to see his return.
"The docs gave me the OK this morning and I found out this afternoon that I was going to play," Steen said.
Steen started the game on a line with Clarke Wilm and Tie Domi. The trio did well, but an injury to Darcy Tucker early in the third allowed Steen to be moved on a line with Mats Sundin and Chad Kilger.
After the game head coach Pat Quinn updated the status of Tucker.
"He's sore now and he'll be evaluated tomorrow," Quinn said. "He has a bruised rib and he's had trouble with it for awhile and it had quieted down, but I saw him wince a little bit tonight on the bench before he left."
General manager John Ferguson met with the media after the game and talked about the fact that the injury bug has hit the team, but in that span other players have played well.
"It's an 82-game season, you line up and play'em," Ferguson said. "It's great to see Chad Kilger score two goals tonight and we're getting some encouraging effort from the net out and that results in good things."
Before Steen went out with a dislocated thumb, he and Sundin were doing well with each other as they had developed good chemistry with Tucker. On Monday it was Steen, Sundin and Kilger who were able to rescue the Leafs in the third.
"Mats made two great plays for us and Chad had a great backhand slapper," Steen said.
Kilger has done well ever since he was moved onto the top line and he acknowledges that a lot of his strong play has to do with Sundin.
"Definitely playing with a guy with that calibre it's pretty easy to play with him and Tucks (Tucker) and then Steen."
Quinn had nothing but good things to say about the play of his hard-working winger. However, seeing him score two goals was something that Quinn didn't expect.
"Historically he hasn't produced a lot of points but he has terricfic skills," Quinn said. "You'd like to think that he flips a few more in, but I think it's a bonus and his play has warranted more ice time."
As Quinn awaits the news on Tucker he hopes to have Carlo Colaiacovo and Jason Allison back in the lineup some time during the road trip more likely towards the end of the trip.
The Leafs had an interesting starting defensive pairing as Bryan McCabe was teamed with rookie Staffan Kronwall.
The young Swedish defenceman played 14:35 of ice-time and he didn't look out of place. He had some big hits and made the first pass out of the zone fairly easily something that the Leafs hope to see from him.