TORONTO -- Everyone knew that spots in the Toronto Maple Leafs' lineup were tight, but to Shayne Corson it feels like Pat Quinn is cranking the vice in on his hockey career.
Corson has been a healthy scratch for two straight games and it isn't sitting well with him. If it did then there would be a real problem, but the fact he went kicking and screaming out of the lineup is a good thing and will probably result in him playing better down the stretch.
The problem for this Leaf team is bigger than Corson, even though it's a good one to have. There is a serious log jam at the third and fourth line forward positions and it's turning up the heat on a lot of veterans.
| Jonas Hoglund has played strong defensively and is starting to pot some goals as well. |
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Travis Green felt the sting of being a healthy scratch earlier this year as did Alyn McCauley and both could again find themselves in the press box. With the return of Gary Roberts, who just signed a one-year contract extension, and the emergence of Nik Antropov, Pat Quinn's roster is as deep as any in the Eastern Conference. That makes decisions tough.
"It's never easy to make the decision to sit somebody out. You try to put the right lineup together, try to have a sense of fairness and yes, some nights you sit guys out that don't normally deserve to," Quinn explained prior to the Leafs 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre.
"You expect players that have come this far in their careers to not be happy if they're not in the lineup, that's what they're supposed to do."
Corson's plight is one that all players must go through at sometime. It just so happens that Corson hasn't ever had to swallow this pill before. The veteran forward has been injured most of the year and that has been the major factor behind his poor play according to the boss.
"He hasn't played well, but he's been injured a long time. Even though he'd been cleared medically, with Gary coming in for his first night I didn't want to be potentially two men down if Gary couldn't log some ice time," Quinn said of his decision to sit Corson against the Senators on Saturday.
If Corson thinks his situation is bad just think how Paul Healey feels. He's been a scratch in seven straight games after helping the team through injury woes around the Christmas holidays. Now everyone is healed and Healey is just staying ready in case of emergency.
One positive for the 28-year-old is that Quinn gave him the go-ahead to move out of the hotel he's been staying in with his wife, Megan and look for permanent digs.
"We just decided enough's enough and told him to go out and get a home," Quinn said of Healey's three month hotel stay. "Mind you a they're a young couple so they probably liked the idea of being on a honeymoon anyway."
So with Healey sticking around and Corson ready and willing it seems that the Leafs are going to move forward with 23 players of their roster, the league maximum.
It's not something that Quinn has liked to do, but with the trade deadline looming maybe he won't be carrying the max for long.