Mike Van Ryn, who was arguably the best Leafs defenceman before going down with a multitude of injuries after being face-planted into the boards by Montreal's Tom Kostopoulos on Nov. 8, has had the cast taken off his broken left hand, and skated yesterday. Van Ryn, who also suffered a concussion, broken nose and lost a some teeth in the hit at the Air Canada Centre, said he is about two weeks away from returning to the lineup.
HOMECOMING FOR COACH
Head coach Ron Wilson admitted that he's excited about returning to San Jose for the first time since leaving the organization at the end of last season after six years at the helm there. The Leafs play the Sharks tomorrow.
"I'm getting texts already from Joe Thornton asking me how nervous I am, I said it's more probably the other way around Joe, you're the one who's nervous," Wilson said.
WILSON GIVES THANKS
Goaltender Vesa Toskala has put together back-to-back excellent games in a 2-1 overtime loss to Ottawa on Thursday and a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, but Leafs goaltending overall is still 28th in goals against average in the NHL (3.38), just ahead of Atlanta (3.49) and Dallas (3.52). Still, Wilson is thankful for the improved play of his No. 1 goalie.
"Our goaltending struggled, that's plain and clear to everybody. We're still pumping a ton of shots and Tosk had a little bit of a mini-slump and now he seems to be over that," Wilson said. "You're only going to be as good as your goaltending in this game, on any team. You need solid goaltending, it builds confidence and now we have Tosk where we need him."
BURKE GETS TO WORK
Accorinding to TSN's website, new Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke has requested permission from the Anaheim Ducks to speak to Dave Nonis about taking a management position with the Leafs.
Nonis is currently a senior advisor with the Ducks and has worked with Burke in both Anaheim and with Vancouver.