Lots 'riding' on Leaf's return

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

Maple Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle is hoping to return to the ice in a week.

Kaberle told his father, Frantisek, that he is aiming to be back on blades next Friday, exactly two weeks after the concussed blue-liner was carted off the ice on a stretcher at New Jersey's Continental Airlines Arena.

Whether Kaberle can, in fact, meet his goal remains to be seen, given the unstable nature of such an injury.

But the veteran did take a significant step on the road to recovery yesterday when he rode the stationary bike for the first time since having his marbles scrambled on a late hit by New Jersey Devils' Cam Janssen seven days ago.

Kaberle rode the bike for about 10 minutes and later informed his handlers that he felt good. He is to undergo a similar workout today.

"He seemed to get through it fine," Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "If he can do that for a week or so, he'll be able to move ahead.

"I can tell you this. The last (bike) workout he has before he is cleared will be a lot longer than 10 minutes."

Bryan McCabe, Kaberle's long-time defence partner, said it was great to see his teammate on the bike inside the team's dressing room at the Air Canada Centre.

"It was a wonderful sight," McCabe said. "He looked really good. It shows how much he wants to play and how bad he wants to get back.

"He hasn't missed much time in the past, and he knows this is a critical time for us. I know how badly he wanted to be back but I didn't expect him to be back working out so soon."

While upbeat at the news that Kaberle is able to begin exercising, defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo, no stranger to concussions himself, warned that his teammate must proceed with caution.

"If he can get back that soon, then good for him and good for us," Colaiacovo said. "But it all depends on how he feels. You have to wake up in the morning feeling no effects and be ready to go."

Janssen received a three-game suspension for his hit on Kaberle.

The Leafs' power-play, meanwhile, has struggled in the absence of familiar No. 15 being stationed on the point. Toronto is 0-for-19 with the man advantage in the three games that he has missed.

Things don't get any easier for the Leafs, who play the Ottawa Senators tonight at the Air Canada Centre. The Leafs lost 5-1 to the Sens on Thursday night in Ottawa.

The Leafs spent most of practice yesterday working on the power-play.


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