Back to the blue line

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Recent injuries to Maple Leafs defencemen Mike Van Ryn, Carlo Colaiacovo and Jonas Frogren have forced Ian White to move back to his natural spot on the blue line.

After spending the first 11 games of the season as a healthy scratch, White was inserted to the lineup as a winger, an unfamiliar position for him. No matter. He warmed up to the switch quickly, collecting seven points in the past nine games.

White originally was bumped up to forward because the Leafs appeared to have a log jam on defence, where he had been battling for spots with Van Ryn, Colaiacovo, Frogren, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, Anton Stralman, Jeff Finger and Luke Schenn.

There were even suggestions that GM Cliff Fletcher might trade one of them. But both Fletcher and coach Ron Wilson warned that it was important to have depth on the blue line, especially if the injuries came.

They came.

Van Ryn will be out at least another two weeks while the fracture in the palm of his left hand is allowed to heal.

Colaiacovo took a shot in the foot last week and is day-to-day. He could not fit his foot into his skate boot yesterday, thereby keeping him from practising.

"When he can put his foot into his skate without the pain, we'll go from there," Wilson said.

Frogren, meanwhile, injured his arm during the Leafs 5-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday and did not appear to be able to move it as he left a local restaurant several hours after the game.

Wilson said Frogren would undergo an MRI today, suggesting it was a muscle injury. He added that Frogren "would probably be out for a bit."

Enter White.

"(Defence) is where I'm most comfortable," White said. "Whether its on defence or forward, I just wanted to play."

Village idiot?

"I don't care what anyone thinks of what I say. Too bad. I'll talk in cliches if that's what everybody wants.

"When you talk in cliches you're an idiot. When you don't, you're an idiot. So, I'm just an idiot."

-- Wilson, reacting to criticism (from Don Cherry, among others) of his recent comments that Colaiacovo is out of shape.


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