Get well soon, Tucker

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

Like a painting that just won't dry, the Maple Leafs still can't display what they consider their best lineup.

Winger Darcy Tucker missed yesterday's practice after being pulled prior to Thursday's game in New York, in what coach Paul Maurice described as "running some tests". Not as detailed as an X-ray or MRI Maurice insisted, but a session with the club therapists. Whatever the case, Tucker's numerous aches and pains, which likely include season-long knee woes, casts doubt on him being ready for the Boston Bruins tonight.

That likely will see Mark Bell kept on the line with Jason Blake and Kyle Wellwood, while John Pohl, who replaced Tucker on Thursday, goes on the fourth line again with Chad Kilger and Wade Belak. Bell will drop back if Tucker returns.

NEW COMBINATIONS

Vesa Toskala is set in goal of course, but with Pavel Kubina's return on Thursday, the question mark on defence is Andy Wozniewski. His development from last season's injury-marred season has not been as steady as expected, but perhaps having Kubina as a steady partner will make a difference.

In Kubina's absence, Maurice put Tomas Kaberle back with Bryan McCabe, while Hal Gill and Ian White continue to be a productive pairing. Kubina insisted he can work with Wozniewski, who has barely 50 NHL games under his belt.

"I want to help him," Kubina said. "He's a good player and he's still young. I remember my first year in the league. You realize it's all about experience and confidence and you really can't learn that until after you've played a couple of hundred games."

Kubina picked up Thursday where he left off almost a month ago, with some good hits and an assist, his 12th point in 19 games. He now is within nine points of his total for last year in his Toronto debut.

"That's good, but I'd rather play good defence and have us win a game 2-0 or 3-1," Kubina said. "I'd rather help that way.


Videos

Photos