Pilar's status a puzzle

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

Two injury-prone Leaf defencemen have had setbacks this autumn.

Carlo Colaiacovo suffered a non-displaced fractured finger on Sunday with the Toronto Marlies, on top of the lingering effects of a concussion that sidelined him throughout training camp and the Leafs first nine games.

Colaiacovo was on a conditioning stint, and doing very well on the farm, when this latest mishap occurred.

"We've not used up the time on his original conditioning designation," general manager John Ferguson said yesterday. "And we may yet (have him recover) in the required time."

But there was troubling news in the Czech Republic about Karel Pilar. Trying to come back from a viral infection that threatened his career, the unsigned Pilar has not played a game with his club team.

"We have no idea why, whether it's for health reasons or not," assistant general manager Mike Penny said. "We're trying to find out through our scout, Jan Kovac."

Pilar most recently played for the Leafs during the 2003-04 season.

GRANDSTAND FOR GRONSTRAND

Defenceman Jari Gronstrand, familiar to the Leafs through many Norris Division battles with the Minnesota North Stars in the 1980s, has been hired by the club as a European scout. Based in Finland, he is their fifth scout in Europe counting director Thommie Bergman, Kovac, Peter Ihnacak and Nikolai Ladygin.

SHOOTOUT GETS SHOUTOUT

Though the shootout already has caused him plenty of grief, coach Paul Maurice remains a supporter of the concept -- at least on a fan's level.

"I had to do some (American Hockey League ) scouting the last year I was in Carolina and sometimes, I had to drive three hours from my house to the game," Maurice said. "Believe me, you drive that far and you want to see someone win or lose."

LOOSE LEAFS

Toronto had two players in the league's top 20 scorers before last night's games, Darcy Tucker 15th and Kyle Wellwood 20th ... Defenceman Ian White is tied for fourth in shots on goal among rookies in the league.


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