Phaneuf eyes Saturday return

Dion Phaneuf could be in the Leafs lineup as early as this weekend's home date against the...

Dion Phaneuf could be in the Leafs lineup as early as this weekend's home date against the Canadiens. (QMI Agency/Tony Caldwell)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

PITTSBURGH - Another solid day of practice has Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf tentatively eying a weekend return to game action.

In fact, if the big defenceman has no setbacks in his recovery from the slashed leg he sustained on Nov. 3 and the subsequent surgery to repair it, Phaneuf could be in the lineup Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre.

Hes getting close, he had a great workout (on Monday in Washington), Leafs assistant coach Rob Zettler said following the teams off day practice here in advance of Wednesdays game against the Penguins. I think youll probably see him within the next three or four days now.

Zettler, who coaches the Leafs defencemen, said it is possible Phaneuf could be in the lineup as early as this weekend's home date against the Montreal Canadiens. After playing here, Toronto returns home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

For the third consecutive day, Phaneuf was a full participant in the teams practice Tuesday afternoon and has gradually been adding some physical contact to his game.

The emotional captain is certainly itching to get back to his team, which has won back-to-back shootout contests including Mondays dramatic comeback against Washington.

Its tough enough sitting out but when the team is not winning as much as wed like, its tough to be out, Phaneuf said between periods of the Capitals game. You want to be out there. You really want to help the team out.

Apparently he's about to get the chance.


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