Flu-like illness a real bug

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Pat Quinn said the game last night "was won in the pits," but a flu-ridden Bryan McCabe first had to fight his way out of the bathroom.

The Leafs' leading scorer was iffy until game time, the third Leaf to be stricken by a nasty bug that's working its way through the dressing room.

McCabe played more than 26 minutes in a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers.

"If you'd have seen Bryan at 10 (yesterday) morning, you would have said he wouldn't play," Leafs winger Jeff O'Neill said. "He looked like he had a white Halloween mask on. But he showed up and played hard. The guy is a warrior."

Quinn sent McCabe home to rest yesterday morning and had Andy Wozniewski on standby from the Marlies after moving Wade Belak to forward.

"Bryan's been having trouble keeping things inside, both up and down," Quinn said. "They (doctors) were uncertain at first if this was a bug or to do with something he ate.

"It was a pretty interesting game for him."

Centre Jason Allison was unable to attend practice Sunday because of cold/flu symptoms and two days earlier forward Matt Stajan was laid low with the flu.

But the Leafs aren't in a numbers crunch on defence despite McCabe's status. Aki Berg is back from a shoulder injury and call up Staffan Kronwall remains with the Leafs.

McCabe has missed just 17 games since the start of the 1999-2000 season.

Forward Nik Antropov rejoined the Leafs yesterday after an 18-hour flight from Kazakhstan during the weekend. He had been there a week, attending the funeral of his father. He had played just six games before knee trouble flared up, followed by the bad news at home. He practised briefly yesterday.

"(The flight) was a tough haul on him going both ways," Quinn said. "He hasn't been on skates in all the time he has been away and he's still having some discomfort with his knee. He'll be getting some examination and treatment based on that.

"He's not ready to play right now, but I don't know where that goes for the rest of the week."

Antropov has had major operations on both knees.


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