Kronwall gets chance

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

This was not the type of NHL debut Staffan Kronwall could have been hoping for.

With Aki Berg on the shelf with an injured shoulder, Kronwall was promoted from theAmerican Hockey League Marlies for last night's game against the Ottawa Senators at the Air Canada Centre.

Obviously excited at being called up Friday night, Staffan, 23, immediately phoned his brother Niklas, the Detroit Red Wings defenceman who is out at least another four months with a knee injury.

"He said he was going to watch me on TV,"Staffan said.

Niklas probably didn't like what he saw, although by no means should the Leafs' embarrassing 8-0 loss to the Sens be placed on Staffan's shoulders.

Staffan, selected 285th in the 2002 entry draft, played 12 minutes, 18 seconds and was minus-three.

As for Berg, the veteran defenceman is hoping to return in the coming days after injuring his shoulder in the Maple Leafs 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

"It's feeling better,"he said."I think it's going to be ready soon. It's still a little sore now.

"It's difficult to sit out against Ottawa but you have to be 100%. It's not 100% and, against Ottawa, you don't want to play if you're not out there."

Forward Mariusz Czerkawski also sat out with what coach Pat Quinn called "a bout of the flu."

Meanwhile forward Nik Antropov is expected back today after being in his native Kazakhstan, where his father recently passed away. There is speculation that Antropov could have a brief conditioning stint with the Marlies before rejoining the Maple Leafs.

BELAK'S BEAK

With his broken nose having been reset by doctors, defenceman Wade Belak was back on the ice wearing a full face shield. Belak was injured against the Bruins when he was bopped in the beak by Boston's Coulton Orr.

"It's been 10 years since the last time I broke it so I've been pretty lucky," Belak said.

"My wife said it's the first time she's ever seen me bleed in a fight. It's a pretty good record. Not too many guys go 10 years without having anything done to their face."

SPECTACULAR SPEZZA

After reading the accounts of Jason Spezza's spectacular overtime goal against the Habs Thursday in the Toronto newspapers yesterday morning, Sens general manager John Muckler, his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, suggested Spezza might deserve a $1 million raise.

"I think he's joking," Spezza said. "But if he isn't, I'll take it."


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