LOS ANGELES -- Colby Armstrong will be back in the Maple Leafs' lineup Monday night, but the clock could be ticking for two others, while Clarke MacArthur says he wants to stay in Toronto long-term.
With Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Mike Brown scheduled to return for Thursday’s game in Phoenix, goalie James Reimer and winger Joey Crabb will be under consideration to sit after Tuesday's game in San Jose.
Prior to Monday night’s game against the Kings, Armstrong’s right eye had all the colours of a California beach sunset. But the swelling from Friday night’s sucker punch by Ben Eager of the Atlanta Thrashers had subsided and he could see well enough to navigate a brief morning skate at the Staples Center.
“It still feels a little weird, but I’ve also had an eye patch on it a couple of days,” the right winger said as the Leafs attempt a third straight win for the first time since early October. “I can see all right and it’s not hurting. I can pass all right. I’ll see what the doctor says.”
Coach Ron Wlson said Armstrong would require medical clearance before the game, but didn’t seem to anticipate a problem.
Reimer gets his second straight start and fourth in the club’s past five games, though the shadow of Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson is looming.
“Jiggy’s got the kind of (groin) injury that’s made him day-to-day almost three weeks,” the rookie Reimer said. “Now he is close to coming back, so it makes what I do even more important. The coaching staff feels they can trust me with another game, so I want to make the most of it.”
Reimer has a 1.87 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage after 10 periods, but said a couple of daus ago he’s resigned to going back to the farm.
When Brown returns, it could be that Crabb gets the hook. One of two Marlie forwards on recall with Darryl Boyce, Crabb plays Brown’s position while Boyce can’t be spared with centre John Mitchell hurt.
First line left winger MacArthur, meanwhile, confirms he wants a new deal with the Leafs. Signed to a bargain pact of $1.1 million US when the Thrashers walked away from an arbitration award double that number last summer. MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin have formed Toronto’s top line.
“I’ve had a lot of fun this year,” said MacArthur, who went into the L.A. game with a team-high 33 points. “Obviously, winning is something we have to do more of and I think this team can do that.
“I would love to stay. It’s the first year I’ve got to stay with the same couple of linemates all year and got back to just enjoying playing hockey again. It hasn’t been up and down and all over the place. It has made coming to the rink a lot easier.”
There have been no talks yet between GM Brian Burke and MacArthur’s agent, Saskatchewan-based Tim Hodgson.