March 13, 2011
Two Leafs battle through injuriesBrent, Sjostrom back on ice
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - The Leafs are hoping Tim Brent and Fredrik Sjostrom are quick healers, otherwise there will be a callup made from the Marlies for Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Brent was visiting an eye specialist on Sunday afternoon after a stick accidentally jabbed him the night before in the win over Buffalo. Sjostrom was back on the ice Sunday, earlier than forecast, after what was believed to be a shoulder injury suffered Thursday in a loss to the Flyers.
“Our hope is for both to play,” assistant coach Tim Hunter said Sunday after an optional practice at the MasterCard Centre. “(Brent) feels good. It’s not swollen, it’s a scratch on the eye or near the eye.”
Sjostrom said he skipped the Buffalo game partly because of precaution.
“I’ve had the injury before and there was a similar feeling,” the fourth-line winger said. “We wanted to take some pictures and look at it.”
BURKIE IN BOCA
Brian Burke is in Boca Raton, Fla., for the NHL general managers’ meetings, where Sidney Crosby’s absence and the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty quickly will bring the focus on head shots.
“The league people are very prepared and organized and our group gets to focus on the game and where it’s going,” Burke said in an e-mail. “I’d also like to discuss the bear hug, hybrid icing and (Detroit Red Wings’ GM) Ken Holland’s proposal for modified overtime.”
Burke believes the bear hug would prevent hits from behind into the boards, allowing defenders to wrap their arms around puck carriers to cushion their checks into the wall and glass. Hybrid icing, used at the NHL’s summer development camp, is where a linesman can make or wave off a no-touch icing call based on how far apart the defending player and forechecker are positioned. If it’s obvious the defender will get the puck first, the whistle sounds to prevent a high-speed collision into the end boards.
In a further attempt to cut down the number of shootouts, Holland would extend overtime to eight minutes, in a 4-on-4 format the first four minutes and 3-on-3 in the second half.
Leaf goaltending great Johnny Bower leads a cast of celebrities for the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation’s Road Hockey To Conquer Cancer event on Oct. 1 at Ontario Place. The massive fundraising event will involve hundreds of players, live music and interactive games. Scotty Bowman, Derek Sanderson, and Bryan Trottier are also part of the show ... Rookie James Reimer’s 13 wins for the Leafs are even more remarkable when considering only 13 other Leaf goalies have won that many in a season since 1976-77 ... For a span of 2:33 on Saturday, Mikhail Grabovski tied Phil Kessel for 89th place in Leafs career scoring along with George Ferguson. Then Kessel scored his 58th as a Leaf, bumping him up to a tie with the late Cal Gardner for 88th ... Veteran radio reporter Howard Berger suffered minor cuts to a hand on Sunday afternoon when a Keith Aulie shot broke a pane of glass right in front of him at the MasterCard Centre. Leafs equipment man Tommy Blatchford quickly patched up Berger. When concerned players asked his condition, media members joked it was “upper body,” in keeping with the team’s policy to be as vague as possible about player injuries.