Leafs' Sjostrom still questionable

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:41 PM ET

TORONTO - Though winger Kris Versteeg is expected back on Wednesday against the New York Rangers, it’s doubtful fellow forward Fredrik Sjostrom will be in the lineup.

On the limp since Jan. 6 when he received a heavy jolt from Blues’ David Backes, Sjostrom has played only three of five games since and was not at Monday’s practice.

“He has a charley horse and he still can’t fire that muscle the way he wants,” coach Ron Wilson said. “He’s only at about 50% to 75% and every time you skate you make it worse. We’ll just rest him until he’s ready to go.”

With Marcel Mueller up from the Marlies and Versteeg ready to rejoin third line mates Colby Armstrong and Darryl Boyce, the Leafs won’t have to resort to using defenceman Brett Lebda on the fourth line. By Saturday’s game against Washington, either Sjostrom will be ready or fourth liner Mike Brown will have returned from his three-game league suspension.

Reimer still a shiner

Goalie James Reimer was 5-for-5 in a 3-2 shootout win in Abbotsford, B.C., on Sunday, his first game with the Marlies since demotion on Friday, following a 4-2 record with the Leafs. Reimer wasn’t shifted to the AHL roster until the Leafs flew home late Friday from Phoenix, meaning his flight plan last week was Toronto-Atlanta-Los Angeles-San Jose-Phoenix-Toronto-Vancouver.

“He went out and did a great job, a great sign for him,” Wilson said.

The Marlies, who have played only road games since Dec. 31 in Grand Rapids, complete their trip with their eighth and ninth games on Tuesday and Wednesday in Winnipeg against the Manitoba Moose.

Fabulous Fabian

Fabian Brunnstrom had three assists in two games with the Marlies, playing Sunday with Mike Zigomanis, since arriving last week in a trade.

If he keeps that pace up and the Leafs keep getting held to one regulation goal a game as in their past two losses, Brunnstrom could be here sooner than later.

“We’ll moinitor that,” Wilson says, though the final word on a callup rests with general manager Brian Burke.

“I don’t know him well, he wasn’t in Dallas when I was coaching (San Jose) and I’ve only seen him play once against us.”

Loose Leafs

Wilson was asked about the perception that defenceman Francois Beauchemin is not embraced by a majority of fans because there is little flash to his game. “If I worry about the fan base, I will shortly be a fan,” Wilson replied. “We think he’s doing fine. He goes out every night and had to play against the other team’s best players and it’s not an easy time. Sometimes his partner (currently Dion Phaneuf) is struggling. I think he has done a great job for us.” ... Wednesday’s game in New York will mark Wilson’s 1,300th NHL appearance. It will also be the 3,000th road game in franchise history.

— Lance Hornby


Videos

Photos