января 1998 года.
Korolev anxious to get back
BY NEIL STEVENS
TORONTO (CP) -- Igor Korolev is not going to help the Toronto
Maple Leafs sitting in the press box.
"It's a long way to score a goal," he says.
Korolev, Steve Sullivan and Martin Prochazka were told to leave
their suits and ties on Thursday night in St. Louis. The Blues won 2-0.
"I was pretty mad," Korolev said after practice Friday. "But
that's the coach's decision and he's doing what he thinks is best for the
"It has been like 10 games where I can't get a goal. I can't
figure it out. Everything is the same but I can't get the puck in the net.
I'm unlucky. It happens. I can't complain. The coach is the boss. All we
can do is come in the next day and work hard."
Murphy's move was a bold one considering Toronto is 25th in team
scoring. Do the Leafs need goals? Do farmers need rain? Korolev has 14
-- second-best among Leafs. So, shouldn't he be on the ice?
It's not that simple, Murphy explained.
"Over the last little while, there have been too many inconsistencies
in his game," he said. "I mentioned it to him verbally, I restricted some
of his ice time during games, and the third message is you sit a player
"I think Igor got hit between the eyes with it. The message is:
you've got to play hard every night if we're going to have any chance to
make the playoffs, and we can't have guys having every other game off.
That was the message and I think Igor got it."
Sergei Berezin was reinserted, and Mike Kennedy and Kevyn Adams
arrived from the St. John's AHL farm club in the latest attempt to light
a fire under the Leafs.
"If guys don't play hard, they're not going to play on this team,"
Murphy said. "I'm going to have to move them out of the lineup and, eventually,
they won't be on our team."
Korolev plays tonight against the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. Murphy
was to decide on the others today. He was content with the efforts of Kennedy
"They played hard," he said. "When you come into a situation
that is as urgent as ours is and you're thrown into the lineup . . . they
weren't given a great deal of ice time but they were sufficient in their
role. I thought they did a decent job."
Kennedy spent parts of three years with Dallas before signing
with the Leafs last summer. He was happy to get in his first game with
the big club.
"Once you get a taste of life in the NHL, you do anything you
can to stay," said the Vancouver native. "You don't won't to go back down."
Wendel Clark (groin) and Alyn McCauley (ankle) remain on the
The forwards are not the only ones reverting to bad habits.
"Our goal is to continue to see if we can find a defenceman,
whether it be a call-up or in the league somewhere, because I haven't been
happy with our defence," Murphy said. "We're getting a lot of very marginal
play from our six defencemen."
Toronto, 17-26-7, is five points out of the eighth and final
Western Conference playoff berth occupied by Edmonton. The Leafs have played
two fewer games than the Oilers.
"We have to stay in the battle and keep every team ahead of us
in sight," Murphy said. "If you win those two games in hand, you're right
"We play Edmonton twice more in the schedule -- not that Edmonton
is the only goal. We still have our sights set on (seventh-place) Chicago.
I know LA's schedule is much more difficult later on, too.
"It's important for us to stay in it. You never know what can
happen. We can put a streak together. We haven't done it this year. So,
maybe we're due. Maybe we're going to put seven or eight together without
a loss. Do that, and you're going to find yourself hovering around eighth
Fourteen players showed up for the optional skate as the pursuit
of full-time work intensifies
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