Colaiacovo, Bell likely headed to IR

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

DETROIT -- The Maple Leafs have until Tuesday afternoon to present the National Hockey League with their final roster of 23 players, but the process of keeping as many as possible in a close orbit to Bay St. has begun.

General manager John Ferguson said yesterday one or more Leafs will open the season on injured reserve, likely Carlo Colaiacovo and Brendan Bell.

And though the GM added that "guys are already on waivers" around the NHL this weekend, it's not believed Toronto has made a significant move to clear the decks. Another NHL team executive said yesterday he was shocked at the scant number of names that were put on waivers this weekend, leading him to believe there will be a rush of players placed there at noon tomorrow, for the final 24-hour claiming period before rosters are set.

"I think some clubs want to see if they can sneak people through waivers amidst all the names," the executive said.

Some Leafs, such as defencemen Ian White and injured Staffan Kronwall, do not require waivers to be returned to the American Hockey League.

On Thursday, a ruckus erupted after coach Paul Maurice said winger Jeff O'Neill had not secured a place on the team. In response, his agent/father Paul floated the scenario of the $1.5-million US winger clearing waivers and then not reporting to the farm.

Then there's the possibility of Ferguson keeping three goaltenders to start the season, as a short-term solution to Mikael Tellqvist being claimed, which would cost the Leafs half his salary. Designated back-up Jean-Sebastien Aubin has no such restriction, but carrying three means losing an extra forward or defenceman. But as long as Andrew Raycroft stays healthy this month, there won't be work for two stoppers, let alone three.


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