All quiet on Kadri front

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:20 AM ET

The Leafs keep downplaying centre Nazem Kadri’s hip flexor injury as “not even worth talking about,” but decided they didn’t want Kadri discussing his condition — or anything else.

The gathered media, quite small by mid-season Leafs standards, was asked not to bug Kadri for a second day on Monday morning, a non-game day at the club’s four-team rookie tournament.

Part of the reason the Leafs came here was to give some exposure to the London Knights’ hometown star and he has been very accommodating thus far.

“He’s a focus because he’s our first-round pick and you guys are going to ask him the same questions over and over,” said coach Dallas Eakins.

“It gets tiresome to a player. We just want to keep him away from that a couple of days.”

But Kadri will have to get used to that sooner rather than later. It’s the price you pay for playing in a big hockey market.

Injury update

Kadri is expected to start against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, but the news wasn’t so good on a couple of others injured, forward Jamie Devane and defenceman Dave Cowan.

“I don’t know if (doctors) are calling (Devane) a concussion yet,” Eakins said Monday morning as he was undergoing tests. “They’ll figure out what grade it is.

“Cowan has a separated shoulder, They were able to get it back in. We’ve sent him back to Toronto have it looked at by our doctors and see what the next step is.”

Defenceman Keith Aulie also returned to Toronto to skate with the NHL Leafs in their informal workouts, with the club already deciding not to play him in the rookie tournament so his surgically repaired shoulder would have an extra week to be ready for the main camp.

“He’s green-lighted, but a guy that big (6-foot-6) and playing the way he does, you almost want to shield him from a hit like the kind that Cowan took,” Eakins said.

London caling

Eakins, player development director Jim Hughes, and the rest of the staff are reluctant to hand out too many plaudits after just two games, a loss and a tie, but some individuals have caught their eye.

“Brayden Irwin has been excellent on faceoffs for the most part, he has an NHL shot (the Leafs’ only goal Sunday) and he thinks the game pretty well,” Eakins said. “Simon Gysbers has played excellent on the back end. He just has ice in his veins. His heart rate doesn’t get up in hairy situations.”

“It’s a process for these guys, it’s one thing to shine in the rookie tournament, another step for the inter-squad games and then the NHL exhibitions. It just keeps getting harder and harder.”

— Lance Hornby


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