Leafs get some rare good news

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

The Maple Leafs will hold an outdoor practice in a west-end park today.

If their recent trend of adversity continues, they'll probably have a couple of guys go down with frostbite, lengthening an injury list that includes Eric Lindros, Carlo Colaiacovo, Bryan McCabe and Darcy Tucker.

But not all is gloom and doom in Leafland, where six consecutive losses have dampened the collective mood.

There actually was a sliver of optimism among the Leafs walking wounded yesterday, starting with Lindros.

The Big E, out for about six weeks with a ligament tear in his right wrist, was slated to have his cast removed yesterday. If all goes as planned and a subsequent MRI reveals sufficient healing, Lindros could be working out with his teammates in the near future.

"Hopefully I'll be cleared to practise with the rest of the guys," Lindros said.

Both Lindros and McCabe, out with a slightly torn groin muscle, skated on their own at Lakeshore Lions Arena yesterday prior to the team's optional practice.

McCabe, back on the ice for a second consecutive day, was able to do some stops and starts, an encouraging sign. Nevertheless he was quick to dispel reports he might be back in time for the game against the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow at the Air Canada Centre.

"Very, very doubtful," he said. "But at least we're moving in the right direction. I haven't had any setbacks so that's a positive. I'll be pushing it harder the next couple of days."

Tucker, meanwhile, said he hopes to return next week from an injured rib muscle.

With the healing McCabe and the concussed Colaiacovo likely unavailable tomorrow, an already thin blue line is hungering for help.

Coach Pat Quinn said a call-up from the Marlies is likely today, with Andy Wozniewski and Jay Harrison topping the list of candidates.

"He'll be under analysis for a while," Quinn said of Colaiacovo. "He had an MRI and there's no facial damage other than a cracked nose, but he got his bell run pretty good so he'll be observed for a while."

One report making the rounds yesterday had the Leafs acquiring journeyman defenceman Jamie Rivers from the Detroit Red Wings. Rivers was in the St. Louis Blues organization from 1995-99, making him a commodity Leafs general manager John Ferguson would be familiar with.

But while Leafs scout Craig Button was in Detroit for the Wings-Nashville game last night, Ferguson was quick to deny any transaction had been completed involving Rivers.

"That is not factual," Ferguson said.


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