Carlo ready to make splash

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

At worst, Carlo Colaiacovo can suck up a few rays between games here in the sun-splashed south.

At best, last night's game against the Florida Panthers could be the start of a lucrative and lengthy stint with the Maple Leafs.

About the only thing the young defenceman can be certain of these days is that he'll be with the parent club for at least a week, replacing the injured Staffan Kronwall in the lineup.

An MRI conducted on Kronwall's right knee in Toronto yesterday revealed a mild strain, leaving the Swedish rookie out an estimated seven to 10 days.

"It's definitely something to build off of," said Colaiacovo, who arrived in Fort Lauderdale Sunday night. "I'm feeling good about myself and what I bring to the table. I'm happy to get another chance."

Colaiacovo scored his first goal NHL goal against the Washington Capitals on Nov. 8, but was sent down to the Toronto Marlies the following day. Because he makes more than the $600,000 US salary of Kronwall, he was the odd man out at the time.

"In understand it's the new way of the new NHL," Colaiacovo said. "It's part of the salary cap. I'm not the only guy in the league that finds himself in this situation.

"I just have to show that I deserve to stay here."

CROSS CHECKS

Winger Darcy Tucker joked yesterday about the time of birth of his son, Cain, Saturday night. "The funny things was, the nurse shouted out 7:05 p.m., and everyone started laughing. I couldn't figure it out. But they all knew that was the exact time the puck dropped in the game (against Montreal) on Saturday night. I guess I'll have to get a stick in his hand as soon as possible." ... Former NHL great Jari Kurri, the general manager of Team Finland, was in the house scouting for the upcoming Olympics. Among those he came to see were Leafs defenceman Aki Berg and Panthers captain Olli Jokinen ... Panthers general manager Mike Keenan denied a report out of New York that a trade sending goaltender Roberto Luongo to the Colorado Avalanche was imminent. "Actually I haven't heard anything here," Luongo said of recent trade rumours. "It doesn't really concern me at all. I'm just here to play. I'm a Florida Panther right now and whenever I'm on the ice I'll give 100%."


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