Another setback for Kyle

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

BOSTON -- The most significant cut of Maple Leafs training camp so far didn't come from coach Paul Maurice or general manager John Ferguson.

Instead it was made by the surgeon's knife of Dr. William Myers, who early yesterday morning performed an operation in Philadelphia to alleviate a groin muscle ailment plaguing Maple Leafs centre Kyle Wellwood.

While team officials claim Wellwood will be out "indefinitely," it is believed that the shifty centre will miss at least three to four weeks in the best-case scenario, meaning he will be unavailable when the regular season kicks off Oct. 3 versus the Ottawa Senators.

Wellwood missed 33 games last season after he had sports hernia surgery in January. He entered training camp insisting he was healed fully, only to tweak the injury during a 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers five days ago.

Alarmed at the test results received late Friday, the Leafs acted quickly to make sure Wellwood's painful ailment was addressed.

"Everything went well," Ferguson said prior to Toronto's 4-3 shootout victory over the Boston Bruins at the TD Banknorth Garden yesterday afternoon. "We are encouraged for a quick rehab.

"This was very much unexpected. It was imperative that we had it addressed as quickly as possible. Had it not been attended to, it likely would have regressed.

"It is not the same surgery as a year ago. The way it was explained to me, it was the tightening of a muscle in the same area."

Wellwood has proven to be a frail commodity in his brief NHL career, so a quick comeback is not a certainty.

"We should know a lot more in the next three or four days," Maurice said.

Maurice could be excused if he is feeling a bit frustrated. Training camp is only 10 days old and already his blueprint for the Leafs' centre-ice situation has fizzled.

In the grand scheme, Maurice planned to use Wellwood as his second-line centre and newcomer Mark Bell as the No. 3 man. But Wellwood's injury and Bell's 15-game suspension has scuttled those plans in a big hurry.

Chad Kilger likely will shift to the middle and so might Alex Steen. John Pohl and Kris Newbury were other options that were mentioned, while Matt Stajan stands to receive additional ice time as well.

Big defenceman Pavel Kubina, meanwhile, scored the winning goal in the shootout.

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THE GOOD

- Hulking defenceman Andy Wozniewski notched an assist, fired six shots on goal and threw his weight around.

- A stinging uppercut from defenceman Jay Harrison knocked the helmet off the head of the Bruins' Dennis Wideman in a first-period fight.

- Goalie Scott Clemmensen was sharp in the overtime period and the shootout.

THE BAD

- Instead of giving former Leafs prospect Tuukka Rask an opportunity to play the team that drafted him, the Bruins forced the young goaltender to sit on the bench and watch Tim Thomas all night.

- While young Swedish defenceman Anton Stralman registered a team-high six shots on goal, he continued to struggle when play got physical in his own end.


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