TORONTO - Jay Rosehill passed Saturday’s first test of coach Ron Wilson to stay in the Leafs’ lineup as a fourth-line enforcer.
Filling in for the injured Colton Orr, whose 128-game streak as a Leafs ended with him going on IR after a head injury in a fight, Rosehill played about six minutes, had a couple of hits, stayed out of the box and let Mike Brown handle the only fight. There was a bonus assist, too, on linemate Tim Brent’s goal.
“He was physical and he helped set up our only goal,” Wilson said. “What we want is physicality, finish your checks and don’t be any kind of liability out there. He’s not, he fits that role perfectly.
“I don’t know if he’ll play every game with (fast winger and penalty killer) Fredrik Sjostrom being closer to returning, but those are options I have.”
Rosehill had 13 points in 32 games with the Marlies and 114 penalty minutes.
“I’ve been getting a few points and learned to hold on to the puck a little more,” Rosehill said. “Last night I felt a little more patient and helped the guys make some plays.”
Winger Phil Kessel makes the first of two visits this week to Raleigh, N.C., tonight.
After the Leafs play there Monday, Kessel will return three days later as the club’s lone representative at the NHL all-star game.
“It should be a lot of fun and I’m getting excited for it,” Kessel said Sunday. “It’s a break from the regular season.”
He has not thought about what team he might be on (captains Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom will pick sides) or what skills event he’s slated to be in.
“I don’t really care (what team), I’m just honoured to be there,” said Kessel, who appeared in the Young Stars game a few years ago with Boston.
He’s not too high on the new format of captains dividing the roster, though.
“I’m not sure it’s the best thing ever,” he said. “I guess fans might like it. It’s not embarrassing (to be picked late or last), because you’re at the all-star game, but still I don’t know about the draft concept. I like it the old fashioned way, but it’s just my opinion.”
Groin pain gone?
When James Reimer appeared at practice on Sunday, the immediate assumption was that Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s groin has been hurt on Saturday night against Washington, either by a butterfly stance gone bad or one of the collisions with Caps star Alex Ovechkin.
“It will be a day to day battle all the way through the season,” Giguere said. “It’s something I will have to keep an eye on, make sure that I stay ahead of it.
“It might feel worse some days than others, but so far since I’ve been back, I feel really good. It’s probably not safe right now to (play back-to-back) until after the all-star game (Feb. 7-8 would be the first such instance). Saying that, if I do feel okay or the coach asks me to play two, that’s not an issue.”
Winger Joey Crabb was picked to be the Toronto Marlies rep for the AHL all-star game on Jan. 31 in Hershey, Pa., But excuse him if he’s not too enthused, now that he has a chance to stay with the Leafs.
“It’s neat to get the opportunity, but hopefully I don’t get that opportunity,” Crabb said with a smile.
Crabb, who has six assists in 15 games with Kessel and centre Tyler Bozak, never thought a few weeks ago he’d be looking for ways to kill a few days during the NHL all-star break.
“No kidding,” he agreed. “But I’m thinking of going a couple of places.
“I wouldn’t mind somewhere warm.”