Belfour slow to heal

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

Ailing goaltender Ed Belfour did not respond to recent treatments as well as the Maple Leafs were hoping, head coach Pat Quinn confirmed yesterday.

Belfour, 40, has missed the past four games because of an ailing back. He is experiencing pain in the same area that was operated on in the fall of 2004.

"We haven't had a lot of increased feedback but I did get a call (Friday) night that there has not been a lot of progress," Quinn said after the Leafs' morning workout at Madison Square Garden. "I guess now it's just a question of the time factor.

"Three days ago when we were in Buffalo there was an indication that he might join us on (the Leafs' three-game trip). But that was before he received his injection."

Mikael Tellqvist has played four consecutive games in Belfour's absence, including the contest last night against the New York Rangers. Quinn said the young Swede will get the call again today when the Leafs play in Pittsburgh.

SWEDE DREAMS

Once the puck dropped last night, Mats Sundin's No. 1 priority was to score against Henrik Lundqvist.

But as he prepared for the game against the Rangers yesterday morning, the Maple Leafs captain did allow himself to reminisce about Ludqvist's efforts at the recently completed Olympics.

As teammates on the Swedish men's hockey team, Sundin and Lundqvist were key cogs in their gold medal performance. Lundqvist's fine goaltending, in fact, wiped away the horrible memories of Tommy Salo's ugly gaffe against Belarus at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

"He turned in a special performance," Sundin said of Lundqvist.

"There haven't been too many times where Swedish goalies have played like that. Sweden really hasn't had a strong tradition of producing goaltenders over the years.

"He's doing very well here for the Rangers. There is no bigger place to perform than on Broadway."

NEW YORK STATE OF MIND

Forward Ben Ondrus never had been to New York before, so it was quite the eye-opening experience for the young Maple Leaf forward.

"It's a pretty busy place," Ondrus said."There certainly is a lot going on at once."


Videos

Photos