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One More Deal?

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by John McCauley

Toronto Maple Leaf fans sent Pat Quinn their seal of approval Saturday night by giving Owen Nolan the warmest of welcomes. The real question is whether the faithful will get another addition before Tuesday's trading deadline?

The answer is yes. Glen Wesley, as speculated, was a picked up for a second round pick in 2004 early Sunday morning and the Leafs still might not be done.

Nik gave up his No. 11 to Nolan.
Graig Abel Photography
"We're discussing things daily," Quinn said before admitting he had an interest in Florida's Brad Ference, who was just dealt to Phoenix. "You never know." If any subsequent trade works out as well as the Nolan deal appears to headed, Toronto will be in for an exciting spring.

Nolan scored two goals and was named the game's first star in a 3-3 tie with the Vancouver Canucks. The only thing that would have made it better for the newest Leaf is holding on to their two-goal third period advantage.

Toronto is now winless in four games.

"We're not clicking on all of our cylinders right now," said Ed Belfour, who stopped 30 shots. The Leafs managed just 19.

Nolan has skated just twice this week because of a minor back injury and the trade from San Jose, but it didn't slow him down. There didn't seem to be anything missing from his game. No. 11 wasn't quite as pleased though.

"I felt real sluggish throughout the game," Nolan said. "My teammates made it easy for me. It's just a matter of time before we get used to each other."

Pat Quinn put Nolan in the starting lineup, alongside Nik Antropov and Mikael Renberg. They got off to a great start even though they were on the ice for Vancouver's first tally of the night, which made it a 1-1 game just after Shayne Corson opened the scoring.

A little later, parked in front of the net on the second PP unit, "Buster" -- Nolan's long-time nickname -- changed the direction of Robert Reichel's wrister and it squeaked between the pads of Peter Skudra. He almost looked surprised when it went in.

His double fist-pump back at the bench, as the crowd gave him a standing ovation, was the first sign he recognized his accomplishment.

It wasn't pretty, but that's what you are going to get with Nolan, in your face, hard-nosed hockey with the occasional highlight reel effort. Linemates Antropov and Renberg seemed to gel well with their new teammate.

"You don't talk about it going in," Antropov said. "It's too early to say how (good it was). We had some fun out there."

Early in the third Nolan put the Leafs up by two with a beauty 2-on-1 goal. Nolan skipped around Jarkko Ruutu in the neutral zone and then dumped a pass to Mikael Renberg, who slid it back for the tap-in. You'll be watching this one for week's to come on TV.

The rest of the Leafs looked as though they're waiting for the other shoe to drop. The trade deadline will tend to do that, especially with rumours running wild.

"It's always uncomfortable and always one of those things you think about," Mats Sundin said. "You expect something to happen every year."

Sundin and the boys will have the stress lifted in less than 76 hours.
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