Alexei Ponikarovsky managed to avoid a date with renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews, but Maple Leafs rookie Darryl Boyce was not as fortunate.
Boyce, who suffered a separated shoulder in his first NHL game -- against the Capitals on Jan. 24 -- underwent surgery yesterday in Birmingham, Ala. Ponikarovsky was told by Andrews he did not need surgery on his right shoulder, which he injured Jan. 23 against Washington.
Ponikarovsky, in fact, was back on the ice yesterday for the first time, participating in the morning skate. Was the original prognosis of six weeks out of game action intact?
"I don't think it will be six weeks," Ponikarovsky said. "I just want to rehab and get my strength back. I feel fine. When I get more comfortable we will discuss (a return to the lineup) with the doctors."
Though defenceman Bryan McCabe (hand) and Alex Steen (shoulder) are creeping toward getting in uniform, coach Paul Maurice said it was more likely that the pair would return at home against the Red Wings on Saturday rather than tomorrow night in Montreal. McCabe indicated if last night was a playoff game, he would have suited up.
"We're shooting for the weekend, but we are not going to put them in unless we are 100% confident where are (with their health)," Maurice said.
YOU LOOK FAMILIAR
Leafs defenceman Andy Wozniewski and Florida Panthers goalie Craig Anderson go back a long way. Born a year apart in the Chicago suburbs, the two played together for a peewee team and participated in a tournament in Toronto in the early 1990s. Wozniewski and Anderson also played baseball together.
"Maybe you would expect two guys out of Chicago (the same age) to play (pro) football, but not hockey," Wozniewski said. "It's pretty interesting. We catch up when we see each other, usually at golf tournaments during the summer back home."
NO CLICHES HERE
Kyle Wellwood usually does not get his guard up when reporters are around. Yesterday morning was no different.
When asked about being put on a line with Mats Sundin, Wellwood, who has struggled all season, said: "I don't think it is because of merit."