Stralman to get a call

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

With Bryan McCabe slated to undergo surgery today to fix the three broken bones in his left hand, Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson said Swedish defenceman Anton Stralman is "likely" to be at practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena.

Of course, if Stralman looks a little weary out there, he has good reason to be.

After he and the rest of the Toronto Marlies defeated Hershey down in Pennsylvania Saturday night, they jumped on the team bus and battled the severe weather conditions before completing an 11-hour journey yesterday morning.

"They finally pulled into Ricoh (Coliseum) at 9 a.m.," Ferguson said.

Talk about taking one for the team.

PICKING UP THE SLACK

Ferguson refuses to whine about the glass being half empty because of the McCabe injury.

"This is an opportunity for others to get increased minutes and show what they can do," Ferguson said.

For their part, many of the other Leafs defencemen vow to pick up the slack now that McCabe appears to be out of commission until at least the all-star break.

"He's a key guy for us," Tomas Kaberle, McCabe's long-time defence partner, said. "You never want to see anyone go down like that.

"Obviously Bryan is going to have to deal with the injury. But it is going to be tough. He's a real competitor."

Younger blue liners such as Ian White and Andy Wozniewski understand that expectations on both of them will be increased.

"It's awful to see a guy go down like that," Wozniewski said. "He was playing huge minutes for us."

TOBACCO ROAD BLUES

No one would blame the Leafs if they had an axe to grind when they face the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center in Raleigh tomorrow night.

Back on Oct. 9, they were handed their lunch courtesy of the Canes, who thumped the Leafs 7-1 at the Air Canada Centre. It was the only meeting of the season between the teams to this point.


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