Antropov, Kubina out

Oft-injured Maple Leafs forward Nik Antropov is on the shelf yet again. He'll begin the regular...

Oft-injured Maple Leafs forward Nik Antropov is on the shelf yet again. He'll begin the regular season on the injured reserve list because of a sore lower right leg. (Toronto Sun File/Dave Thomas)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

The Maple Leafs' opening-night roster became a little clearer yesterday thanks to those who dole out punishment at the league level and the brittle nature of forward Nik Antropov.

Defenceman Pavel Kubina won't play tomorrow night after he was suspended one game for cross-checking Jiri Hudler of the Detroit Red Wings on the face during the pre-season finale.

General manager John Ferguson was disappointed with the decision but will live with it. Kubina, who was assessed a major and a game misconduct on the play, will forfeit $26,737.97 US in pay.

"We had planned to have Pavel in our lineup (against Ottawa tomorrow night)," Ferguson said. "I have respect for those who make the decision (NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell). When you push forward and ride up off the shoulder area with the size discrepancy (between the 6-foot-4 Kubina and the 5-foot-9 Hudler), you never hope for anyone to have any kind of injury. Clearly it did not set (Hudler) back at all."

Antropov, who suffered a lower right leg injury against the Wings, will start on injured reserve, as will defencemen Carlo Colaiacovo (head), Brendan Bell (ankle), Staffan Kronwall (ankle) and forward Ben Ondrus (bruise).

Only defenceman Brad Brown was placed on waivers prior to the noon deadline yesterday. Ferguson said it is "very likely" the Leafs' 23-man roster to start the season will have both backup goalies, Jean-Sebastien Aubin and Mikael Tellqvist, on it, as well as No. 1 Andrew Raycroft.

The waiver period ends today at noon. Clubs have to submit their final rosters to the league this afternoon.

Ferguson probably wouldn't mind unloading Tellqvist.

"Everybody has a second goalie at least as good as that," one NHL executive said. "Why they think they might be able to move him is interesting because guys like him are not exactly a big commodity."

With Kubina out, either Jay Harrison or Wade Belak will dress at the Air Canada Centre in the regular-season opener against the provincial rival Senators. Youngsters Ian White and Andy Wozniewski have spots sewn up on the blue line, joining Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle and Hal Gill.

Harrison would rather be a depth guy for the Leafs than eat up minutes with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

"You have to start somewhere," Harrison said. "It's difficult to break into the best league in the world and play the ice time that you would in the league below. I'm willing to put in the time, no matter what it takes to get my feet wet."

Jeff O'Neill might catch a break with Antropov out. If not, one of Belak or Bates Battaglia could go up front.

Coach Paul Maurice reiterated that he has not benched O'Neill because he is mad at him.

"This is not a motivational technique," Maurice said. "I am not finding him under-motivated. He is just not where he needs to be. He has worked hard and his improvements physically have been significant."


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