Carlo gets to watch yet again

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

Defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo's sore knee is likely to keep him out of the Maple Leafs' season opener on Wednesday, creating a small window for other hopefuls.

"Carlo has tendonitis and he's in quite a bit of pain," coach Paul Maurice said.

"I'm not optimistic (he'll face the Ottawa Senators), which has more to do with how Carlo's recovery history has been."

Colaiacovo also would likely miss the Leafs' second game on Thursday and their third on Saturday.

Colaiacovo might have hurt himself by getting on the ice in mid-August, joining many Leafs for informal pre-camp workouts. But pain developed after just two exhibition games. Though he can do off-ice workouts, the general pain tolerance isn't worth further risk.

Colaiacovo's absence means Andy Wozniewski, Staffan Kronwall, Jay Harrison on Bryan Muir will step in, with one and possibly two staying as the seventh and/or eighth man.

KRONWALL VS. KRONWALL

Tove Kronwall makes a trek to Canada every winter to spend the holidays with her hockey-playing sons.

Well, Christmas has come in September as Nicklas of the Detroit Red Wings and Staffan of the Leafs finally suited up in the same National Hockey League game last night.

But unless she gets LeafsTV in Sweden, Tove will have to hear about it from the boys later.

"One of us has always been hurt," Staffan said of the sons' missed chances to play each other since 2005.

"I talk to my mom often (their father passed away 10 years ago) and she probably knew there was a chance it would happen this week.

"She won't know who to cheer for, but as defencemen, we probably won't see a lot of each other in the game."

Nicklas, 26, just completed his first full season with the Red Wings, playing up to 20 minutes a game.

"He usually drives up from Detroit to my place at Christmas and our mother brings the ingredients for a (traditional) meal," Staffan said.

Assuming one or both won't be in the lineup for tonight's return engagement at Joe Louis Arena, the next meeting can't be until Feb. 9 at the Air Canada Centre and only if Staffan makes the Leafs.

His play at this camp reflects two years experience in North America including 16 games as a Leaf in 2005-06.

But an ankle injury early last season lost him his place in the pecking order, relegating him to a half season with the Marlies.

"He has shown a lot of upside," said defenceman Hal Gill, whose 6-foot-7 dimensions make him a kindred spirit to the 6-foot-4 Kronwall.

"He has quick foot speed for a big man and that helps him if he's off his angle and trying to recover. He's in a catch-22. He needs the experience of playing to help his confidence and the confidence to show he can play."


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