All Eric Lindros wants for Christmas is a wrist brace that works.
Hopefully, the Maple Leafs medical staff kept the receipt after Lindros' much-anticipated brace arrived from Texas in time for practice yesterday but was found to be unsuitable. A new cast of his hand has been made and shipped to the Lone Star State, but the delay could mean a longer stint on the sidelines with a torn right ligament.
"It's not working out well," Lindros said after he was too uncomfortable to join the workout yesterday. "With the give in the (brace's) stability, it takes away from the motion, from your ability to work the stick."
There virtually was no hope Lindros would play tonight in Ottawa or Monday against the New York Islanders anyway. But he insists that surgery is not in the plan, while general manager John Ferguson says the club's No. 2 centre will not be moved to the injured reserve list.
"I don't think it will be a month," Lindros said in response to a worst-case scenario guess about his condition.
But quizzed if the back-to-back games against the Boston Bruins late next week are a targeted return, he replied, "I'm not sure where we stand."
Meanwhile, Tie Domi's sore right shoulder has him scratched him from the lineup, while Nik Antropov continues to suffer pain from an undisclosed knee problem.
The Leafs are well off with defenceman, as Staffan Kronwall came off the injured list yesterday after a sprained right MCL and was sent to the Marlies to play in a couple of the club's AHL games this weekend. That gives Carlo Colaiacovo more time to establish himself as a regular.
Coach Pat Quinn intends to bring Mariusz Czerkawski out of the press box to play with Mats Sundin and Alex Steen, and in an attempt to get another struggling winger going, has placed Jeff O'Neill with enthusiastic kids Matt Stajan and Kyle Wellwood.
Darcy Tucker has been removed from Sundin's line to replace Antropov with Jason Allison and Alexei Ponikarovsky. That leaves a diverse fourth line of frequent scratches Clarke Wilm, Wade Belak and Chad Kilger. They'll have their hands full against Ottawa tonight, though Quinn might use the other three lines more frequently.