Ponikarovsky sits one out

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 6:55 AM ET

A dangerous-looking collision with Chad Kilger in Wednesday's practice knocked winger Alexei Ponikarovsky out of last night's lineup with a sore left ankle.

Coach Paul Maurice was hopeful Ponikarovsky can play by tomorrow when the Pittsburgh Penguins are in town. Including last night, Ponikarovsky has missed 22 games the past three seasons.

FRIENDS INDEED

Islanders players, staff and media all stopped by to chat with Jason Blake yesterday, concerned about the former New Yorker's battle with a rare form of leukemia, which he revealed Monday. Blake appreciated the support, but wished to keep the focus on game day.

"Good for the Islanders (who were off to a 3-1 record before last night), but we have to turn our ship around," Blake said.

WADE'S WORLD IN ONE PIECE

Leave it to RW Wade Belak to put the Leafs' woes and the city-wide fire alarm about poor October results in perspective. He's played here six years and has seen many a crisis come and go.

"Is the sky falling or is it just foggy?," Belak wondered. "If we win, people will love us and we'll all be kissing babies again."

Belak was put in the lineup last night for the first time this season but was blanked on the score sheet, pushing his slump to 133 games without a goal.

"I don't want to retire knowing my last pro goal came in England," He said before the game, speaking of his seven-goal season for Coventry during the lockout.

SCREEN SHOTS

Last night's game marked the return of Leaf games to 26 Cineplex locations around Ontario. LeafsTV will show 19 games, up from seven when they introduced the concept last year. Tickets cost $10.95 or three games for $31.20 or five for $49.25. Taxes are extra.

PERROTT STILL ON SHELF

Winger Nathan Perrott will miss at least another week recovering from a freak injury during a Marlies' exhibition game last month. His sweater became caught in the glass at a rink in Burlington, causing a rotator cuff-type injury.

As one of his specialties is fighting, the Marlies want to make sure he is 100% recovered.


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