|The Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping that injured defenceman Tomas Kaberele will dress for Wednesday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers. (Toronto Sun/Ernest Doroszuk)
There's a good chance that all-star defenceman Tomas Kaberle will dress for tomorrow's game at the Air Canada Centre against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Leafs assigned rookie defenceman Phil Oreskovic to the Toronto Marlies on the weekend -- opening up a spot for Kaberle, if he's ready. The Czech has missed the past 12 games with an injured right hand but has practised with the team for about a week.
The Leafs also sent rookie goaltender Justin Pogge back to the Marlies, although it's likely the Leafs will recall him to back up Curtis Joseph against the Flyers, as regular first-stringer Martin Gerber has one more game to serve in his three-game suspension for bumping a referee.
Pogge allowed six goals on 20 shots in Toronto's 7-5 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday night. The 22-year-old goaltender has struggled at the NHL and AHL levels this season.
"I haven't seen him play many games in the (AHL) but he has unfortunately been prone to giving up sometimes a soft goal every game," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "A lot of times most goalies will tell you that it's more mental than physical (allowing weak goals). Staying in the moment is more important than anything right now for him, just to focus on the next shot."
Wilson fully expects any of his players, if they are asked, to represent their countries at the 2009 world championship next month in Switzerland, as long as they have no injury issues, as is the case with Kaberle.
"If you're capable of playing, you should go," said Wilson, who represented the U.S. at the worlds on a number of occasions. "The bottom line is, we should expect to be playing into May. So anybody who is asked, I would expect to go, as long as they're healthy.
Rookie centre Mikhail Grabovski has said he will play for Belarus.
However, as long as the Marlies are in playoff contention, the likes of Nikolai Kulemin (Russia), Anton Stralman and Jonas Frogren (both Sweden) will stick around Toronto.
"It would be a better experience to get playoff action over here, where you're playing the same team, 4-5-6 times," Wilson said. "Here you've got to face the same people every night and the intensity is so much greater."
Wilson said that Frogren, who suffered a lower body injury March 7, likely will begin practising again today but probably will return to play for the Marlies, not the Leafs, this season.
Hanson close to signing
According to a report on TSN.ca, the Maple Leafs are close to signing Christian Hanson, the son of Dave Hanson of Slapshot fame.
Christian, 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, is a sturdy, two-way centre with Notre Dame.
A deal could be signing as early as today.