Wellwood can't go

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

The Maple Leafs spent the off-season upgrading their medical facilities.

They only hope Kyle Wellwood doesn't spend too much time in the new digs.

Originally scheduled to be in the lineup last night against the Phoenix Coyotes, Wellwood was scratched after the morning skate with a minor groin ailment. Given the fact he missed a good chunk of last season after undergoing a sports hernia surgery, the Leafs don't want push their luck with the young forward.

"It's almost like a concussion," coach Paul Maurice said. "Because of (Wellwood's) previous history, we don't want to take any chances even though there might be 20 other guys who feel like him."

Maurice hopes forward Boyd Devereaux is able to make his first appearance of the pre-season when the Leafs visit the Boston Bruins tomorrow. Devereaux has been sidelined for all of training camp with a foot infection.

BUBBLE BOYS

Forward Tony Salmelainen scored his first goal of the pre-season in the 3-2 exhibition loss to Phoenix last night and drew praise from Maurice. So, too, did defenceman Anton Stralman, who made his first pre-season appearance after missing most of training camp with a bout of bronchitis. "He seems to get better the higher the skill level is," Maurice said of Stralman.

SWANK SURROUNDINGS

The training and medical facilities were part of a swank upgrade to the Leafs dressing room, one spearheaded by assistant general manager Jeff Jackson.

The facelift included a bigger players lounge, a 12-seat video theatre and the relocation of the coach's office.

NO MORE INK STAINS

Sherry Ross, the first woman to broadcast a male professional sports team, was hired by the New Jersey Devils yesterday to be the club's radio colour commentator.

Ross also served as a radio analyst for the NHL team from January 1992 through New Jersey's first Stanley Cup-winning season in 1995. She rejoins the Devils after 12 years with the New York Daily News, where she covered hockey and horse racing.

NUMMINEN IS A-OK

Sabres defenceman Teppo Numminen had successful open heart surgery yesterday to repair a faulty valve and hopes to be back on the ice within three months.

"There were no complications," Sabres doctor William Hartrich said after speaking to the surgeon at The Cleveland Clinic. "Teppo is resting comfortably and will remain in the hospital for the next several days."

Numminen learned he required surgery after a routine checkup in Cleveland earlier this month. Barring complications in his recovery, the 39-year-old player is eyeing a return to the lineup as soon as December, he said before the operation.

PENS LOCK IN

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed a lease committing the NHL team to its yet-to-be built $290-million arena until 2040.

The lease terms were in accordance with a March memorandum between the team and government officials, Gov. Ed Rendell said yesterday.


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