'Canes felled by flu

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

To most, they are known as the Carolina Hurricanes. But these days, just call them The Flu Crew. Three Carolina players missed the team's 5-4 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Saturday because of the illness.

Another one, defenceman Niclas Wallin, was left behind in Carolina when the Canes departed for Toronto Monday for the same reason. During a recent trip, the 'Canes brought 29 players along as a contingency plan to guard against the effects of the flu bug. "It is by far the worst thing I have ever seen," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I have seen these guys play through fractured bones, pulled muscles, all kinds of bumps and bruises. But I have never seen anything put them (on their butts) like this has."

REVERED REBEL

Maple Leaf goaltending prospect James Reimer has been named the Boston Pizza Western Hockey League player of the week for the period of Jan. 7-13. Reimer, a member of the Red Deer Rebels, posted a 2-1 record in three appearances over that span, allowing only four goals on 116 shots for a 1.31 goals-against average and a .966 save percentage. Reimer, a 19-year-old from Arborg, MB, is in his third season in the WHL with the Rebels. He was drafted by the Leafs in the fourth round, 99th overall, at the 2006 entry draft.

PROUD PARTNERS

With Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson in attendance, the Leafs celebrated their partnership with Hockey Canada last night at the Air Canada Centre. "We are very proud to have such a strong relationship with the Toronto Maple Leafs and we commend the Leafs organization for their commitment to grassroots hockey and minor hockey development programs," Nicholson said. In 2006, The Leaf Fund, the team's charitable arm, made a $2-million commitment, which will be used to support hockey programs and initiatives.

Hockey Canada also will be a co-tenant along with the Leafs and the Hockey Hall of Fame at a new four-pad practice facility near Lakeshore Lions Arena. Construction of the facility is scheduled to kick off in March, with completion slated for March 2009.


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