Big E back after the break?

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Signs are pointing to Eric Lindros' return to the Maple Leafs lineup when they play host to the Washington Capitals on Feb. 28, their first game after the Olympic break.

Lindros went to London, Ont., on Monday to have the torn ligament in his right wrist re-examined by a specialist.

"They think everything is in line," coach Pat Quinn said. "The nature of the injury is such that it seems to have healed up well, but is irritated and inflamed and it is because of that activity (Lindros trying to handle a puck last week in practice).

"We are looking for him to come back on the 22nd and start practising then and believe at that point he will have a green light."

Defencemen Ken Klee (ankle sprain) and Alexander Khavanov (crack in foot bone) will be able to return once the pain in their injuries decreases, Quinn said.

O'NEILL REMAINS OUT

Jeff O'Neill's exile to the press box stretched to two games last night but Quinn insisted the benching of O'Neill won't become a prolonged situation.

Other than inserting a now-healthy Aki Berg on the blue line in favour of Wade Belak, Quinn stuck with the lineup that beat the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

"It has more to do with that lineup that won the other night," Quinn said of his decision to keep Mariusz Czerkawski in and O'Neill out. "Jeff is not going to be staying out. We will get him back into the lineup. He will be a guy who makes a big contribution for us."

AHL ALL-STARS ON THE WAY

As expected, the Toronto Marlies have been awarded the 2007 American Hockey League all-star game. The annual event will be held at Ricoh Coliseum.

Though a date has not been set, it likely will be in late January, with the skills competition on a Sunday and the game on the following day.

I GUARANTEE A REACTION

Don Waddell's guarantee that his Atlanta Thrashers would make the playoffs was no big deal, Quinn said. But it meant something to the Thrashers players.

"It is a good thing when the head guy believes in the team," Ilya Kovalchuk said. "I like it very much. I think we are all on the same page and working hard to make it."


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