Leafs getting healthy

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

For two guys who have been sidelined from the Maple Leafs lineup for weeks, Pavel Kubina and Staffan Kronwall were yukking it up pretty good inside the dressing room at Lakeshore Lions Arena yesterday.

There was good reason for all this fun and frivolity.

In Kubina's case, another day of practice means he is inching ever so closer to a return. While coach Paul Maurice is opting not to insert the hulking defenceman into the lineup for tonight's encounter with the Philadelphia Flyers, both parties are hopeful that Kubina will be back against the Boston Bruins in Beantown Thursday.

"I've never played with a brace before," Kubina said, pointing out the device on his left knee. "I'm starting to get used to it, though. I'm feeling more comfortable every day."

Kubina strained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee while becoming entangled with the Florida Panthers Todd Bertuzzi on Oct. 9.

"This will be exactly four weeks (today), which is probably a bit faster than I thought. There was some talk it might be up to (six weeks)," Kubina said.

Kronwall, meanwhile, was just glad to be back on the ice, even if it was just an optional workout for the team yesterday.

It was the first time Kronwall practised with his teammates since spraining his right ankle in training camp.

"I stayed out there for the full practice, so it's a good sign," said Kronwall, who still is considered to be week to week.

"I lot of people say it would have been better to break the ankle than sprain it because it would have healed quicker."

With Kubina poised to be activated off injured reserve, the Leafs made room for him on the 23-man roster yesterday by sending forward Ben Ondrus to the Marlies.

"To be frank, the fact he didn't need to clear waivers to be sent down played a role (in the decision)," coach Paul Maurice said.

Maurice added that defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo is skating "without a stick so he will still be (out) for a bit."

Colaiacovo recently fractured a finger during a game with the Marlies.


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