Brian Burke has no idea when, or if, Colton Orr can get back in the lineup this year, but the Maple Leafs are not getting bullied minus their premier enforcer.
Without Orr, who has a suspected concussion, a young Toronto lineup has not been intimidated in notoriously tough NHL rinks, such as Philly’s Wells Fargo Center, the TD Garden in Boston, Philips Arena with the scrappy Thrashers, and HSBC Arena where they ended a string of losses against Buffalo. Since Orr was hurt on Jan. 20 in a fight with Anaheim’s George Parros, the Leafs have won back-to -back three times when fatigue could have led to being outmuscled.
“We have not been given a timeline for Colton’s return,” general manager Burke said in an e-mail. “He will not be permitted to play until cleared by the doctors.”
Jay Rosehill was the Leafs’ lone policeman until Mike Brown came back from an upper body injury, but the club has even been able to get by without fourth-liner Rosehill some nights to work in Joey Crabb.
“Rosie and Brownie have done a nice job riding shotgun for us,” Burke added. “I don’t believe other teams have been able to exploit Colton’s absence.”
The only scrap in Philly, where Flyers menace Daniel Carcillo was scratched by a flu bug, saw 6-foot-5 rookie defenceman Keith Aulie get the better of Scott Hartnell.
“We have a lot of guys who can play that physical game and, like Aulie last night, fight if they need to,” Rosehill said.
But Rosehill doesn’t mean to diminish Orr’s value to the team.
“A lot of guys relied a lot on Colton and there’s a hole there for sure. It’s necessary that everyone steps up and takes care of each other. Maybe you’ll see guys taking care of each other more and see guys (fight) who maybe you thought never would.
“The time of the season is critical, too. The points are so important and the games are so even that our team has become tighter. That translates to the ice. Everyone comes together like a pack and stands up for each other.”