|Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson speaks to the team during practice. (Michael Peake/QMI AGENCY)
TORONTO - In part because he is a coach who doesn’t waste time shuffling his lines both in-game and between games, Ron Wilson is loathe to refer to the group of Tyler Bozak, Phil Kessel and Kris Versteeg as his first line.
And with the performance of that group lately, he’s even more reluctant to do so.
“I don’t call it the first line,” Wilson said following his team’s shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. “It’s called the first line in (the Air Canada Centre) media room.
“They don’t get offence because they’re, basically, not working hard enough.”
ON THE MEND
Already forced to being sidelined for four weeks with an injury to his finger, Leafs forward Colby Armstrong is getting another banged up bone taken care of at the same time.
Armstrong was seen walking around the Air Canada Centre Saturday with a walking cast to repair a minor fracture he suffered during the pre-season.
“He has had a sore foot since he blocked a shot in training camp,” Wilson said on Saturday. “The doctors wanted to put a walking cast on to help it heal quicker.”
Armstrong, who suffered the injury on Oct. 26 against Florida, is expected to be out of the lineup for four to six weeks and is currently on injured reserve.
HE’S GOT THE MOVES
Leafs forward John Mitchell wasn’t just being rewarded for a strong game when he was the lone Leaf to score in the shootout Saturday night against the Sabres.
Mitchell has a signature move that has worked well in the shootout in the past and with rookie Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth in net, it was a green-light situation for him.
“I’ve used it a couple of times,” Mitchell said of the deke that fooled Enroth. “This is a rookie goalie, he’s new to the league and young. It was probably the right thing to try it on him as well.”
With seven goals and four assists, Clarke MacArthur has sole possession of the Leafs scoring lead, two points more than Phil Kessel and linemate Nikolai Kulemin.
But the off-season free-agent acquisition felt he let a couple get away in the tough shootout loss to his former team.
“I had two or three golden opportunities (on Saturday) that I should have finished off,” MacArthur said. “I thought we deserved a better fate.”
At plus-six, MacArthur is second to only Mikhail Grabovski (plus eight) in the Leafs’ plus-minus stats.
Looks like Mike Zigomanis has no intention of spending a season in the minors. Prior to last night’s game in Oklahoma City, the centre has three points in three games since being sent down to the AHL Marlies ... With a complete off day on Sunday, several Leafs players attended the Buffalo Bills-Chicago Bears game at the Rogers Centre ... The team is scheduled to practise Monday morning at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke before flying to Florida where they will play back-to-back games, Tuesday in Tampa against the Lightning and Wednesday in Sunrise, Fla. against the Panthers. The Leafs finish the week with a home game against Vancouver on Saturday night ... The Lightning, who lost to San Jose on Saturday, dropped three of four on their western road trip.