Here we go again.
With healing defenceman Staffan Kronwall skating for the first time yesterday since suffering a knee strain against the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 26, those same familiar questions started to spring up at Lakeshore Lions Arena.
Will Carlo Colaiacovo be the odd man out?
Will his trend of yo-yo-ing between the Maple Leafs and Marlies continue?
Will this guy ever get a chance to prove himself over an extended period of time?
Colaiacovo has played well since being called up to replace Kronwall, and he knows it. As a result, the Mississauga native refuses to acknowledge the sound of Kronwall's hulking footsteps clomping up behind him.
"Those decisions are not in my control,"said Colaiacovo, who is plus-2 in six games and has looked solid defensively. "I'm focussed on being here, and I hope to be here for the rest of the year.
'Listen, I've been up and down, up and down, up and down. Finally I've had a few games here and I've been good in those games.
"I feel confident in my game and I want to keep it up at this level."
Kronwall, meanwhile, has targeted the game against the Dallas Stars Saturday for his potential return date.
"The knee felt pretty good out there,"said Kronwall, who skated by himself prior to the team's practice. "There was still some pain but at least it is stable. I'm hoping it's good by the end of the week."
Once he's healthy, will he be shipped to the Marlies? Will it be Colaiacovo? Or will both be kept with the big club? Even Kronwall doesn't know.
"I'm trying not to think about it," he said. "I don't know what (management) is thinking. No one has told me anything."
General manager John Ferguson isn't about to show his hand, either.
"We'll make a decision when the time comes," Ferguson said.
"(Colaiacovo) continues to make positive steps."