Ken Klee and Wade Belak are ready to skate in their first game of the NHL regular season but Jeff O'Neill likely will have to sit this one out.
Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson said last night O'Neill's status remains up in the air for tonight's contest against the Montreal Canadiens. O'Neill jammed his right shoulder during Wednesday's game against the Ottawa Senators when he flew into the net over goalie Dominik Hasek.
O'Neill suffered a torn labrum in the same shoulder, his right one, in March 2004 and required surgery. This time it appears to be nothing more than a bruise, Ferguson said.
"I would say he is questionable," Ferguson said. "I don't want to be premature but more likely that's what we are dealing with (that O'Neill is day to day)."
O'Neill did not practise yesterday but said afterward there was a chance he could play tonight. He will know following the morning skate.
Coach Pat Quinn has shuffled his lines, with Eric Lindros taking Mats Sundin's spot between Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky. Jason Allison centred Darcy Tucker and Mariusz Czerkawski. Matt Stajan was between Alex Steen and Clarke Wilm, and Kyle Wellwood was flanked by Chad Kilger and Tie Domi. Nathan Perrott also practised.
Klee has been hampered by a bruised heel, and Belak was bitten by a spider last weekend. If they are in, rookie Andy Wozniewski probably will be benched, though Quinn said he was not sure. Klee would be paired with Alexander Khavanov, Belak with Aki Berg.
Klee has not played serious hockey since the World Cup ended 13 months ago, missing the entire pre-season schedule.
"Physically I feel good," Klee said. "There is only one way to get in game shape and that is by playing games. I'm excited to get going."
Wellwood played in one game for the Leafs in the 2003-04 season and is glad for the chance to get in again. He just wishes it could be under different circumstances.
"It's the worst situation," the 22-year-old said. "(Sundin) is the one guy on our team, besides maybe Eddie (Belfour) that you would not want to get hurt.
"The guys here have been awesome to me and I am looking forward to getting in the game. That's going to be my job, to come up when someone gets hurt."