Allison will sit and wait

Leafs forward Jason Allison will not suit up against the Boston Bruins at Hamilton tonight as he...

Leafs forward Jason Allison will not suit up against the Boston Bruins at Hamilton tonight as he nurses a bothersome hip/groin ailment. (Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson)

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Training camp is only one week old and already Jason Allison has been scratched from the Maple Leafs lineup.

But before cries of "same old Toronto Brittle Leafs" grow, the injury-plagued Allison wants to assure everyone that he is just being cautious with his hip/groin ailment, a condition he does not consider serious.

Allison's was to have made his Leafs debut tonight against the Boston Bruins in an NHL pre-season tilt at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. It would have been the perfect storyline for the North York native, who scored 105 goals for those same Bruins during his four-plus seasons in Beantown.

Instead, he's just hoping to welcome his first NHL game action in almost two years later this week, either in Montreal on Saturday or Ottawa on Sunday.

"It's very frustrating," Allison, 30, said. "It was tough watching the game against Ottawa (the other day). I got a little antsy. I just have to be careful and make sure there are no setbacks.

"I got a little hip strain recently. (My skate) got caught in a rut. It wasn't from pushing it. I don't think it will be long time (in healing). I obviously want to play."

Play? The training staff didn't even let him him skate yesterday, forcing coach Pat Quinn to pencil in Matt Stajan to take Allison's spot against the Bruins tonight.

Keep in mind that Allison missed the the team's opening scrimmage one week ago after aggravating the injury. At that time he also said he "wasn't concerned."

Allison returned to the ice the following day but, obviously, has yet to fully heal.

"It wasn't really getting any better," Quinn said. "He was slated to play against Boston but the objective has now changed. He's going to stay off it a couple days, which should help him get toward playing condition.

"I don't know how long he'll be out but I'm not concerned about (the injury)."

The same can't be said for the many observers who feel Allison's neck and back woes the past two years could be the recipe for disaster in Toronto.

For their part, Leafs officials always are quick to point out that Allison did receive medical clearance at the time he signed with the Leafs last month.

Also absent from the ice yesterday was defenceman Ken Klee, who continues to suffer from the painful heel injury that has kept him out since the second day of camp.

Stajan, meanwhile, isn't the only Leaf who will play his second game in three days. Among the seven players scheduled to be in the lineup tonight who took part in the 5-2 loss to the rival Ottawa Senators Sunday is Alexander Steen, who looked impressive on a line with Mats Sundin and Nik Antropov.

"I think he's going to be a pretty good player some day," Quinn said of Steen. "For his first outing I don't think he was our worst player in any regard in terms of making things happen."

Steen is champing at the bit for another opportunity to impress the brass.

"It's a little higher intensity than I'm used to," the 21-year-old Swede said. "But I'm getting into it now."


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