Sundin, Antropov still on ice

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

The stereotypical definition of a Swedish cheerleader conjures up the image of a curvy blonde waving pompons.

Tonight, that role will be occupied by Mats Sundin -- without the curves, golden curls and pompons, that is.

Having accompanied his teammates to Long Island for tonight's showdown with the New York Islanders, the Maple Leafs captain's groin injury will keep him from lacing up the blades.

Joining Sundin on the inactive list will be fellow forward Nik Antropov, who left the Leafs' game against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday with a knee injury that continues to be monitored.

The Leafs "hope" to have Sundin and Antropov back by in the lineup by the weekend, either for their rematch against the Sabres in Buffalo on Friday or for the clash with the rival Senators in Ottawa on Saturday. But given the uncertainty involved with the recovery time of both players, their respective absences could be much longer in duration.

Coach Paul Maurice revealed yesterday that Sundin has a slight groin tear, an injury that normally takes at least 10-14 days to heal. He suffered the ailment March 12 in Philadelphia, meaning the 10-day window would end Saturday in Ottawa.

Sundin skated for about 22 minutes prior to the Leafs practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena yesterday. During that time it became obvious to the Toronto captain that he could not use his left leg more than 50% in terms of strength and mobility.

"As soon as I can play, I will play," a downcast Sundin said. "I need to have the leg to a certain point where I can use it on the ice, otherwise, I can't be out there competing."

Sundin, who will test the injury again today during the morning skate on Long Island, would like to be back Friday.

Antropov, meanwhile, only stayed on the ice for three minutes before disappearing down the corridor toward the Maple Leafs dressing room.

He did not make the trip to Uniondale, staying behind to rest the swollen knee.

"This team, over the years, has been able to win games without Mats, but there's no replacing his abilities," coach Maurice said. "And Nik, for that matter, I think what he does for this team is underrated. We're going to miss those two guys."


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