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Toronto Maple Leafs rookie team forward Tyler Bozak slams Ottawa Senators defender Geoff Kinrade in to the boards during first period NHL rookie tournament action in Kitchener, Ont., on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009.

David Bebee/The Canadian Press

With rookie Tyler Bozak called up to the Maple Leafs and set to play a significant role with the struggling team, he sounded downright elated at the fact he'll be playing with Phil Kessel on Tuesday night against the last-place Carolina Hurricanes.

Bozak has only 20 points in 32 games in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies but steps onto the Leafs top line in only his second NHL game.

A few thoughts from Bozak today:

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On Kessel: "It's an honour you know, he's such a great player. It's just a privilege to come in here and be able to centre him. I can get him the puck."

On expectations being too high: "I just think they've giving me a good opportunity here to show what I can do. Putting me on a line with Kessel and Kulemin should make it pretty easy on me.

"I just want to come in here and help to the best of my ability."

Ron Wilson on Bozak:

"I expect him to come in and I assume he'll be a little tight. He played well in the exhibition games, he played well in the game he was up [with the Leafs] He made a nice play on the power play. I just want him to relax, move pucks and do what he's always done in his life as a hockey player. He's a good skater, sees the ice pretty well, move the puck, move your feet."

Can he stay with team full time: "The plan when we signed him last year was the hope that he would eventually be on our team and possibly this year. So, this isn't any kind of a lucky break. He's earned an opportunity. We're struggling a little bit offensively and we think that he can help make plays and help our power play. It's a natural progression - we'll see how he plays in the next couple games and if he's playing well he'll continue to get opportunities and if not, he's got another little notch on his belt of experience he can take back [to the minors]depending on what we decide."

Rickard Wallin will come out of the lineup to make room for Bozak.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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