A timetable for Tomas Kaberle's potential return hopefully should become clearer by the end of the week.
Kaberle, who is accompanying the team on its three-game trip to Montreal, Florida and Tampa, said he will be checked out upon returning to Toronto Friday.
Kaberle fractured his right hand while blocking a shot by Colorado Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk during a game in Denver 10 days ago. The original prognosis for his return was three to four weeks.
"Right now I would have to say I'm week to week," Kaberle said yesterday, wearing a cast on his injured hand.
"I have to see if I can get any movement first before we go from there."
Kaberle admitted being frustrated at having to watch his teammates play, especially at the Bell Centre, easily his favourite road rink in the league.
"It sucks to watch instead of playing. I just want to get into game shape."
Through it all, Kaberle continues to hear all the trade rumours involving his name.
"It has been part of being in Toronto," he said. "This has been going on for years. It's something you put out of your mind. You just have to focus on the games.
"I love the Leafs. I've said it before. Nothing has changed."
Vesa Toskala certainly was on the hotseat last week.
First he was criticized --and rightly so -- by general manager Brian Burke, who correctly pointed out that the goalie's statistics were not good enough to lead his team to consistent victories.
Then coach Ron Wilson took him to task on Friday, criticizing Toskala for not practising hard enough.
For backup Curtis Joseph, receiving heat is all part of being a No. 1 goalie.
Joseph's advice to Toskala?
"You have to stay confident," Joseph said. "You can never lose that. You can never let that waver. You always have to believe in yourself.
"Just focus on the game. That's it."
Joseph knows what it's like to be called out.
"When I was the No. 1 guy with the Detroit Red Wings, they signed Dominik Hasek," Joseph recalled. "I went from being the starter to being sent to the minors.
"Believe me, that's being called out."