Pilar takes it in

TERRY KOSHAN and MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

A familiar face watched last night's game between the Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes from the press box.

Defenceman Karel Pilar had just arrived from Montreal, where he underwent further testing on his heart, and reported that he should be back in game shape by Christmas.

In August, Pilar had a second bout of viral myopathy in his heart. It's a condition that occurs when the heart muscle stiffens and as a result can't pump enough blood to the body.

Pilar had spells of dizziness and tests a couple of months ago confirmed the condition again, more than two years after it first happened.

"I'm feeling a lot better now," Pilar said last night. "The doctor said everything is really good, and I should slowly start working out. He said it was very rare that it happened twice and there would be a very small chance it would happen three times.

"I'm happy about it and now we will just see how long it takes for me to get back into shape."

Pilar, 27, missed the final 45 games of the 2002-03 season with the virus. He is not under contract with the Leafs presently but was in talks for a one-year deal at approximately $500,000 US when he was stricken in the summer.

The doctor's office

Nik Antropov was out of the Maple Leafs lineup last night, but coach Pat Quinn is hopeful that the gangly forward can participate in a full practice today for the first time this week.

Antropov, who was injured a week ago when he was gooned by the Atlanta Thrashers' Patrik Stefan, skated briefly prior to the Leafs morning skate yesterday and seemed to be in some discomfort.

With the two-month-old rumours concerning a possible Antropov-for-Brendan Witt deal resurfacing this week, it is obvious that nothing likely would happen until Antropov is healthy again.

Meanwhile winger Chad Kilger returned to the lineup last night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Kilger missed Toronto's 3-2 victory over Montreal Saturday with an ankle injury.


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