Razor drawing interest

Andrew Raycroft at a Toronto Maple Leafs practice. (TORONTO SUN FILE PHOTO/Michael Peake)

Andrew Raycroft at a Toronto Maple Leafs practice. (TORONTO SUN FILE PHOTO/Michael Peake)

MIKE ZEISBERGER

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

As various teams around the National Hockey League are saddled with either injuries or poor play from their respective starting goaltenders, it is interesting how the Andrew Raycroft scuttlebutt is gaining momentum.

According to TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger, at least three clubs -- the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Los Angeles Kings -- have called the Leafs inquiring about Raycroft, who has become entrenched in his role as Toronto's backup behind starter Vesa Toskala.

Whether the interest turns into legitimate trade talk remains to be seen. Raycroft's annual $2-million US salary could be a sticking point in the end.

With starter Marc-Andre Fleury sidelined six weeks with a knee injury, the Pens are forced to use Dany Sabourin, with ex-Edmonton Oiler Ty Conklin backing him up.

In Tampa Bay, the inconsistency exhibited by starter Johan Holmqvist and backup Marc Denis is driving coach John Tortorella bonkers -- at least more than usual, anyway.

As for the Kings, starter Jason LaBarbera is injured, leaving former Leaf J-S Aubin and rookie Jonathan Quick to carry the load.

As mentioned, to this point, it is nothing more than talk.

The NHL's holiday roster freeze runs from Dec. 19-27, meaning no trades can be made during that particular period.

CARLO CLOSER

Any mention that injured defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo might be getting closer to returning to the lineup must be made with caution.

After all, how many times has the young hard-luck blue liner appeared to be making a comeback from knee surgery last spring only to suffer a setback?

Having said that, Leaf officials are cautiously optimistic at the progress Colaiacovo has made in recent weeks while working with the team's power skating instructor.

According to coach Paul Maurice, Colaiacovo is scheduled to hit the ice for a workout tomorrow morning and should that go well, could accompany the team on its upcoming trip through the deep south, whick features games in Raleigh against the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday, in Tampa against the Lightning Thursday and in Sunrise against the Florida Panthers Saturday before the players have a brief break for Christmas.

Team officials are quick to point out that, in the event Colaiacovo does go on the trip, it does not neccessarily mean he will be ready to see any game action.

Colaiacovo has not yet appeared in a game this


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