Raycroft hoping for Saturday start

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

As you can imagine, the sight of Andrew Raycroft with crutches yesterday brought activity at Lakeshore Lions Arena to a halt.

A more mischievous man, seeing the quizzical looks of the media and detecting heart palpitations from club officials, would have milked the scene, but the Maple Leafs goaltender 'fessed up to borrowing the sticks for fiancee Erin, who badly hurt her heel in a recent fall.

Though Raycroft didn't skate yesterday, as he marked two games and a full week out with a groin strain, he is still hoping to be back either Saturday against New Jersey or Monday versus the New York Islanders, both home games.

Captain Mats Sundin also had a vigorous workout yesterday, hoping to soon get clearance to shoot pucks after tearing an elbow ligament on Nov. 6.

"Andrew is progressing well," said coach Paul Maurice, who will start Jean-Sebastien Aubin tonight in Boston and activate Mikael Tellqvist from the injured list as backup.

"If Andrew feels good, but we don't have confidence in his ability to take shots, then we'll wait another game (until Monday). That will be determined Thursday and Friday. I think (strength coach) Matt Nichol has something planned for Andrew and Mats while we're in Boston."

Sundin was given a hard skating workout yesterday by assistant coach Keith Acton. It's likely another MRI will be taken in the next few days to determine if he can include stick drills in his rehab. The original diagnosis was three to four weeks and though Sundin is famous for beating the doctor's timetable, he is not boasting yet.

"The elbow is about where you'd it expect it to be," Sundin said. "It's healing well.

"The good news is that we're off to a good start (despite injuries to Raycroft, defenceman Pavel Kubina and himself). We've played well since the Florida game (10-4-2), but we have to remember that we were eight games above .500 last year and that wasn't good enough to make the playoffs."

Defenceman Staffan Kronwall is about a week away from returning from an ankle injury, while Carlo Colaiacovo (broken finger) is about two weeks away broken finger, likely starting with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.


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