Colaiacovo confident

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

Carlo Colaiacovo's head doesn't hurt anymore.

Neither does his pride.

Who cares if Ian White and Andy Wozniewski are making solid bids to land a spot on the Maple Leafs blue line, a job Colaiacovo thought would be his?

At least the pain in his noggin' is gone.

At least there are no indications the wooziness he suffered during the opening day of training camp 12 days ago is related to post-concussion syndrome.

And, most importantly, at least he was given the green light earlier this week by renowned concussion specialist Dr. Karen Johnston to begin off-ice workouts.

Speaking publicly for the first time since he wobbled off the ice midway through new coach Paul Maurice's gruelling practice back on Sept. 15, Colaiacovo expressed relief his symptoms were not linked to the severe concussion suffered during a game against the Ottawa Senators back in January.

"Considering what I went through, we have to take precautions," Colaiacovo said after completing an intense workout on the stationary bike at Lakeshore Lions Arena.

"Obviously health is the first thing, especially when you are dealing with your brain and your head. That's what you live with for the rest of your life.

"Without your brain or your head, who knows where you would be? The good thing is, I'm real positive now."

Colaiacovo was asked if Dr. Johnston, who has treated Scott Stevens and Eric Lindros, could pinpoint the source of his discomfort two weeks ago.

"She doesn't really know," Colaiacovo said. "The only thing I can think of, which we both shared, is that it was a time of overexertion. It has been a long time since I exerted myself to that extent.

"It has been frustrating. Hopefully I can go back on to the ice in a couple of days.

"I'm a little behind, especially at the pace (the Leafs) are going at. But right now I've got to prepare myself harder to know what to expect."

With Colaiacovo on the shelf, Staffan Kronwall suffering from a sprained right ankle and Brendan Bell's left foot in a cast, the door is open for White, Wozniewski and Jay Harrison to snap up the vacancies behind incumbents Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle, Hal Gill and Pavel Kubina.

Maurice has been especially complimentary of Wozniewski and White.

Wozniewski is tied for the team lead in pre-season points with four, while White has looked very slick, especially on the power play.

"He's an ox," Maurice said of Wozniewski. "He's really fit. We played him upwards of 30 minutes per game for three consecutive games (last weekend). He was feeling it in that last game, yet he kept on going."

Meanwhile, the diminutive 5-foot-10 White has at times been partnered with 6-foot-5 Hal Gill, an intriguing duo to say the least.

"I came into camp wanting to show I could handle this calibre of hockey, and I think I've done okay," White said.


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