Quick-healing Sundin looking to return to lineup against Boston

MIKE ZEISBERGER, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice has tentatively pinpointed an upcoming two-game series against the Boston Bruins for the potential return of Mats Sundin.

Hopefully the Toronto captain can survive until then.

Sundin, who injured his right elbow against the Philadelphia Flyers back on Nov. 6, is spending many of his mornings being bag-skated into exhaustion by Leafs assistant coach Keith Acton.

If that's not motivation to get back into the lineup, Sundin said yesterday, nothing is.

"(Acton) keeps telling me, 'You are in good shape, so we want to make sure you stay that way.' "

The Leafs play back-to-back games against the Bruins at the Air Canada Centre on Nov. 25 and 28. The latter date would seem the more realistic for Sundin's return, although the captain is known as a quick healer and isn't ruling anything out.

More will be known early this week when the veteran Swede is scheduled to be checked out by team doctors again.

"It feels a lot better," Sundin said. "I can't shoot yet but I'm able to stickhandle now and take some passes, so it's coming along good.

GETTING STRONGER

"It's been nine days of skating now so my conditioning has been fine. The biggest thing now is to get it strong enough so that I can engage in some contact and take some shots. That's the next step.

"The important thing is, I can skate so the condfitioning is not an issue. Once I get medical clearance to come back I won't need another week to get into game shape."

Sundin said last week that his ability to be a quick healer "must have come from all the pickled herring I ate as a kid."

Whatever the reason, Maurice will welcome his captain back with open arms whenever that day comes.

"(With an elbow) you don't have to worry as much as if it were a groin or a shoulder," Maurice said. "It's not like he's been inactive for a while. He's able to skate."


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