ACC ice zooms to 4th

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

The soupy ice at the Air Canada Centre is no more.

At least that's the word from the NHL, which announced yesterday that the surface at the Maple Leafs' home rink was ranked fourth among league arenas through the first quarter of the season. That's a huge improvement from the same span a year ago when the ACC placed 20th.

A $4-million investment was made during the off-season for a new dehumidification system, money which seems to have been well spent. Three days of every month during the season are used for ice maintenance and repair.

CARLO RETURNS

The eyes of Maple Leafs management will be on Rochester tonight when defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo plays his first meaningful hockey game in eight months.

Colaiacovo, who has been out of action since undergoing knee surgery in late April, is expected to be in the Marlies lineup when the Leafs' AHL affiliate faces off against the Rochester Americans.

Colaiacovo has been loaned to the Marlies for two weeks but might return soon after the NHL's roster freeze ends on midnight Dec. 27.

"He had three good days on the ice and was champing at the bit to get out there and back into the lineup," Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "But we wanted him to get a couple more practices before he played a game and this seems to be the best way.

"The good news is, the doctors know where he is at."

FAB FOUR TO STAY?

With Palace Sports & Entertainment, the body that owns the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum, announcing Wednesday that it will negotiate a potential sale exclusively with OK Hockey, LLC, the odds of the team's Big Four -- Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis and Dan Boyle -- staying here have improved.

OK Hockey, LLC, is an entity controlled by Hollywood TV and movie producer Oren Koules. Koules is said to want to keep all four players on board, which would mean re-signing Boyle in the off-season.


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