Carlo to do farm duty

MIKE ZEISBERGER

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

For the first time in eight months Carlo Colaiacovo is poised to see game action, albeit down on the farm.

Colaiacovo has been sent to American Hockey League Marlies on a two-week conditioning loan, Should his surgically-repaired knee hold up to the grind, he'll likely need only two or three games before being recalled to the Leafs, who could use him on the back end with the absence of the injured Bryan McCabe.

Colaiacovo, who went under the knife in late April, participated in his first full practice since the surgery during the Leafs' mid-afternoon practice in Tampa yesterday and emerged from the workout relatively pain-free.

CHRIS CROSSED

For once the outspoken Jason Blake was at a loss for words.

Blake had just finished practising with the Leafs yesterday when he was informed of the 30-game suspension imposed by the NHL on Chris Simon, his former teammate with the New York Islanders.

"I don't know how I can comment on it," Blake said. "I played with Chris. He's a good player and a great teammate.

"I don't know what direction it will go for him. I just wish him the best."

LOOSE LEAFS

Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala and rookie Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Karri Ramo, 21, have never faced each other before but they certainly are not strangers. The two Finns went on a brief summer tour together hosted by stick manufacturer Montreal. "He's a great guy," Toskala said. "We had a good time." Toskala is amazed at how many Finnish goaltenders are now playing in the NHL. "There must be eight or nine of us now," he said.

MINUTE MUNCHER

Defenceman Pavel Kubina said too much fuss is being made over the increased minutes he is receiving in the absence of McCabe. Kubina led the Leafs in ice time with over 31 minutes during their 3-2 overtime loss in Carolina Tuesday night.

"When we won the Stanley Cup with Tampa (in 2004), Dan Boyle and I played an awful lot," Kubina said yesterday. "Darryl Sydor and Jason Cullimore played a lot too.

"Most teams don't rely on six defencemen anyway. Usually they lean on their top three or four."


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