Paul Maurice can not put an exact date on when injured defenceman Bryan McCabe might return to the Maple Leafs lineup.
Having said that, no one was happier to see McCabe on blades again for the morning skate yesterday than the beleaguered Toronto coach.
"There is still a wide window as to when he'll be back (in game action)," Maurice said. "But it was so good to see him back out on the ice."
McCabe skated for the first time since suffering three fractured bones in his left hand during a game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Dec. 15.
McCabe was hurt when he was wallpapered against the unforgiving boards by the Habs' Andrei Kostitsyn and underwent surgery just two days later.
"It has been about five weeks but it feels like five years," McCabe said after coming off the ice yesterday.
"I can't shoot yet but at least I can tie my skates. That's a bonus.
"Hopefully in the next one to three weeks I'll be ready to go."
McCabe said one of the most painful aspects of the injury is being forced to see his teammates perform on television without being able to help them.
"It's always hard to watch especially if the team is struggling," he said.
Prior to last night's game against the Buffalo Sabres, the Leafs had just one regulation-time victory since McCabe was injured.
The Leafs have called up forward Darryl Boyce from the Marlies. The native of Summerside, PEI, who had 24 points down on the farm, accompanied the Leafs to New Jersey last night.
"I found out at 11:30 Friday night while we were down in Houston," he said. "I was up at four to catch a flight to Toronto at 6 a.m., so I didn't get much sleep." ... Last night was Leukemia Awareness Night at the Air Canada Centre. Volunteers from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada collected donations and distributed souvenirs at the gates. In addition, $30 from every Jason Blake sweater sold yesterday at CentreSports was donated to the Society.