Kaberle still on the shelf

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:29 PM ET

The kids will be staying around on the Maple Leafs defence until at least next week.

Tomas Kaberle now says he will accompany the team on its three game road trip next week, but likely not play as he tends to an aggravated hand injury, the one he broke last month. There was some thought to him hurrying back to play tomorrow against the Calgary Flames, but though he can skate he hasn't been able to shoot.

"Obviously I have to take my time this time around, there's no rush," Kaberle said this morning after the Leafs held an optional practice for this evening’s home game against Tampa Bay.

"It's tough. It's just getting good enough to skate without the puck now. I'm going to come on the road and get some practices in. If you're going to play seven or nine or 10 games, it doesn't make a difference. We just want to make sure we don't hurt it again and not have surgery. At the same time, some of the younger guys can show what they have.

"But I want to play. It still helps your confidence for next season. They'll take (an X-ray) on the trip and see what they can do."

Winger Niklas Hagman (concussion) is also going to travel, but his return next week is a long shot, since he hasn't been on the ice since Brendan Witt of the Islanders elbowed him in the head on Feb. 26.

Barring further injuries, it means Marlie call-ups Anton Stralman and Phil Oreskovic are going to stay on the blueline a couple of games. Mike Van Ryn and Jonas Frogren are out long term and newcomers Erik Reitz and Jamie Heward are also hurt.


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