Van Ryn progressing

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

Defenceman Mike Van Ryn, who suffered his second concussion of the season on Dec. 18, is expecting to start skating this week, followed by full practices in a week or so.

Van Ryn was arguably the best defenceman for head coach Ron Wilson before going down with his second concussion and the London native admitted yesterday that the uncertainty of the injury has been an emotional strain.

"It has been hard, I can't lie," Van Ryn said. "I just got back from that (first concussion suffered Nov. 8), played three games and I was just starting to feel good out there and felt like I was before. Hopefully this time we get it right and we can get around this.

"The hardest part, the biggest side effect, is just the headache and grogginess. You don't know if the grogginess is from not doing as much as you normally do," he said, adding that he was disappointed that he will be unable to play against his former team, the Florida Panthers, tonight. "I have bigger things right now to deal with. We've got three more games against them."

BIG SWEDISH SUPPORT

The buzz inside the dressing room after practice yesterday was about last night's Canada-Sweden gold medal game at the world junior hockey championships. Naturally, the Canadian guys were pulling for Canada, while Jonas Frogren was pulling for his native Sweden. But Frogren said he wasn't alone in his pulling for Sweden.

"I've got some Russian guys on my side in here as well," he said.

A LAUGH A MINUTE

Forward Jeremy Williams got a laugh when did a voice imitation of his fellow prairie dog, Luke Schenn, as Schenn talked about the world juniors, and the fact that he and Matt Stajan once played in the event.

"Staj, too, he's played world juniors, too," said Schenn, in his, aww-shucks, prairie boy way. "So we're definitely cheering for Team Canada, for sure."

"No way. For sure?" interjected Williams, cracking up the media assemble.

STICKING UP FOR McCABE

Most of the Leafs veterans are (outwardly) hoping that the ACC faithful cheer for returning prodigal son, Bryan McCabe, and not boo him too much tonight.

"He was one of our best D-men for years," Stajan said. "He was an all-star, he played for Team Canada. Obviously it didn't finish the way I'm sure everybody wanted it to, but he's moved on and has done a good job. That will be up to the fans, but I think he deserves a nice ovation. He's done a lot for this organization and it's great to see him back here."


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