No worries for Lindros

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

The regular season still is eight days away and already Eric Lindros is trying to stop the panic concerning:

a) the fact that he has yet to register a pre-season point.

b) the fact that he missed practice yesterday with an oblique muscle injury.

c) the notion that all the bumps and bruises being nursed by the Maple Leafs these days are an alarming harbinger of things to come in the months ahead.

Lindros suffered the ailment in the latter stages of the Maple Leafs' 3-2 loss in Montreal Saturday and sat out the 7-4 defeat in Ottawa 24 hours later. He did not participate in the Leafs' 90 minute on-ice workout yesterday, though he did put in time in the weight room.

"I'll be fine," Lindros said, probably amused at the fuss being made over something as simple as a strained or pulled muscle. "It wasn't that big of a deal.

"I'm not concerned. If I'm not back (today)then maybe tomorrow. There have been a few hiccups around here with some guys going down early in training camp, but hopefully we're over that and guys are getting healthy."

Whenever he is deemed fit to return to the lineup, Lindros is confident the goals and assists will follow.

"The points will come," he said. "Getting the feel of the game, getting your legs underneath you, getting the hands back, all that will come with time.

"Having said that, we're running out of time with the season (eight days away). You want to get in there and get as much practice in as possible."

Lindros and defenceman Ken Klee were the only regulars not to take part in practice, although the latter player did skate on his own for about an hour before his teammates stepped on to the ice.

"I tried skating the other day and it was terrible," Klee, who has missed most of training camp with an injured foot, said. "This time was much better, although I don't know when I'll be back. I don't want any setbacks."

At least coach Pat Quinn could be optimistic about the return of Jeff O'Neill and Aki Berg, who took part in drills yesterday. Both should be available for the Leafs' exhibition outing tonight against the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre.

O'Neill was bonked in the head by a Tomas Kaberle slapshot in Montreal Saturday and sat out the loss to the Senators Sunday for precautionary reasons.

"I feel fine," O'Neill said. "Hey, if you go in front of net, you are going to get hit. Just so happens it hit me in the noggin.

"I heard (Tomas) never shoots. All of a sudden he's taking target practice."

Earlier in the week a Kaberle blast nailed Carlo Colaiacovo in the leg, causing the young defenceman to miss a pre-season start.

Berg, meanwhile, missed about a week with a muscle strain, the type of injury some players are blaming on the poor ice conditions at Ricoh Coliseum.

"I'm all healed and ready to go," Berg said.


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