Pohl leaves to be with brother

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Healing Maple Leafs forward John Pohl has temporarily left the team to be with his brother, Tom, who is in intensive care after undergoing brain surgery yesterday at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn.

Tom Pohl, a senior forward with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, was elbowed to the ice and injured during the Gophers 3-2 double-overtime win over Minnesota State Sunday.

According to reports, Pohl had just dumped the puck into the Mavericks' zone when he was elbowed in the head by the Mavericks' Jason Wiley. With his helmet having flown off upon impact, Pohl smacked the ice face-first, slicing open his head.

Bleeding profusely during the 13-minute delay, he was strapped to a gurney and rushed to a local hospital before being transferred to St. Mary's. The subsequent surgery successfully stopped the bleeding and stabilized the fracture, according to University of Minnesota athletic officials.

"We are very fortunate that he has tremendous medical care," Minnesota coach Don Lucia said in a statement. "We're looking forward to him returning to school at 100% and our thoughts and prayers remain with Tom and the Pohl family."

Wiley received a major penalty for elbowing to the head and was disqualified from the game.

Gophers players told the St. Paul Pioneer Press they believed it was a freak accident following the hit by Wiley.

"I don't think there was any intent to hurt anyone," Gophers senior captain Derek Peltier told the publication.

Peltier said the players were shocked to hear of the severity of the injury to their teammate.

"There's not a whole lot we can do now but keep him in our thoughts and prayers," Peltier said.

John Pohl, who has been rehabbing a high ankle sprain, could be back in the Leafs lineup by the weekend.

LOOSE LEAFS

Forward Alex Foster, called up from the American Hockey League Marlies yesterday, hopes to make his NHL debut tonight against the New York Islanders. Foster has 15 goals and 23 assists in 56 games on the farm.


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