GM supports Gilbert

LANCE HORNBY

, Last Updated: 6:48 AM ET

In most cases, a last-place coach would fear for his job security at this time of year, but after a hellish season at Ricoh Coliseum, Marlies coach Greg Gilbert is getting full support from his boss.

"He has term remaining on his contract and we're counting on him being a big part of the Marlies going forward," Leafs general manager John Ferguson said. "He helped our team (with numerous callups this year), while dealing with as many significant injuries as we had in Toronto. They were without such important players as Brad Leeb, Staffan Kronwall and Jeremy Williams."

Gilbert, whose team has 10 games remaining, also had to live with the growing pains of No. 1 goaltender Justin Pogge.

WILL WELLWOOD BE WELL?

The Leafs training staff are keeping a close watch on centre Kyle Wellwood, who is suffering some discomfort seven games after his return from hernia surgery.

He was taken out halfway through Toronto's win over Carolina on Tuesday and coach Paul Maurice planned to monitor him closely last evening in Atlanta and through a busy weekend of three games in four nights.

"We'll start with his normal shift and go from there," Maurice said. "I think the (warm Georgia) temperture and ice conditions have something to do with it. We certainly won't over-extend him and if we get an inkling something's wrong, we'll use Yanic Perreault and John Pohl more."

Wellwood has been a welcome addition to the Leafs' power play, but admits frustration at not being able to resume using all his talents just yet.

"It's not surprising that it has been up and down, though I feel I'm slowly getting better," Wellwood said.

"If I keep an eye on it, it should be okay. I definitely don't want to push it too hard to the point I'm (injured) again."

LOOSE LEAFS

Ferguson, in the midst of a nail-biting playoff race, has been hard-pressed to make road trips with the team of late, with wife Stephanie expecting their fourth child in the next few days. "There's never a lack of excitement in our house," he quipped ... To date, Ferguson has not utilized the four emergency callups afforded all NHL teams after the trade deadline. The Leafs have found a good rhthym and he no doubt wants to save them for a possible playoff appearance.


Photos