TORONTO - Mark Fraser is recovering at home after having surgery on Wednesday night.
The Maple Leafs defenceman was hit in the forehead by a Milan Lucic shot during the Leafs’ 4-3 overtime loss against the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal.
“(Fraser) had surgery last night to repair a fracture between the eyes and the cranial area, but I don’t know if you would call it a fractured skull, I think that’s a little bit severe,” Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said as a handful of Leafs participated in an optional skate at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke on Thursday.
“He was texting and in conversation with his teammates this morning before 8 o’clock. So he is back on the road to recovery.”
Look for John-Michael Liles, who has been a healthy scratch the past three games, to get back into the lineup for Game 5 on Friday night in Boston.
The Leafs recalled defenceman Jesse Blacker from the Toronto Marlies with Fraser out.
“We have a decision to make, but I would probably bet on John-Michael Liles getting the opportunity to play over Blacker,” Carlyle said. “You have a guy who has played with our hockey club most of the year and has been in and out of our lineup, but has been a great soldier. A veteran guy who is going to get a chance to get back in the lineup.”
Lucic skated right over to Fraser after the incident. Fraser was helped off the ice and left a pool of blood in his wake.
“Any time you see that, no matter if it is your teammate or not, you want to make sure the guy is all right,” Lucic said. “It was good to see it was not an eye injury.”
The Bruins lead the best-of-seven 3-1 and would oust the Leafs with a win on Friday.
“The bottom line is that you can’t change what happened, now it is time to regroup and that is what we are here to do, gather this group together, re-set, re-focus, re-energize, do all the things that we normally do,” Carlyle said. “We have to go in and win a game in Boston.”