Van Ryn the new Carlo

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

The comparisons between former Maple Leafs defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo and current Toronto defenceman Mike Van Ryn have started rolling in.

Colaiacovo, who was traded from the Leafs to the St. Louis Blues earlier this season, never played a full season during his five plus seasons with the Leafs as a result of various injuries. Van Ryn went down on Saturday with a lower body injury after becoming entangled with the Edmonton Oilers' centre Marc-Antoine Pouliot -- marking the fourth time this season the London, Ont, native has been hurt, twice because of concussions, once because of a knee injury and now this lower body injury.

"I know some guys have brought up Carlo's name," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said yesterday when asked about Van Ryn. "From my experience I've never seen that many somewhat serious injuries in a season. It's just been bad luck. They're all different injuries, none of them are really related. It's kind of strange."

Worse for Wilson, the 26-27-13 Leafs are 14-7-6 with Van Ryn in the lineup.

There was speculation that the Leafs would ask the NHL to look into the collision between Van Ryn and Pouliot but Wilson said that won't happen.

"(Pouliot) didn't do it on purpose," he said. "They caught their skates together and they both went down and it's an unfortunate accident."

Coincidently, it was Pouliot who also collided with Jonas Frogren, resulting in the Leafs rookie leaving the game.

It's a small world

Maple Leafs forward Jeff Hamilton grew up in Englewood, Ohio, not exactly a hot-bed of hockey.

Still, there is one more familiar face on the Leafs squad from that neck of the woods, head coach Ron Wilson.

"It's a small world," Hamilton said. "Coach Wilson went to the same junior high school that I did. He actually came up to me (after being acquired by Toronto on March 4) and said 'You're from Englewood, Ohio? I went to the same middle school as you.' "

Wilson was born in Windsor, but spent many of his childhood years in the States where his dad Larry played pro hockey.

Practice is an option

The Leafs held an optional practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena, prior to their charter leaving for Ottawa yesterday afternoon, with nine players participating, including the two goaltenders, Martin Gerber and Curtis Joseph. The others on the ice were forwards Ben Ondrus, Brad May, Hamilton, John Mitchell and Nikolai Kulemin and defencemen Phil Oreskovic and Anton Stralman.


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