Leafs cancel Kadri's ticket to minors
LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
|Nazem Kadri jokes around during Leafs practice at the Mastercard Centre in Toronto October 14th, 2011. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)
BOSTON - Nazem Kadri didn’t catch a bus to the Marlies, he grabbed an early morning plane to the Bay State instead.
With Colby Armstrong suffering a leg injury, a four-game road trip just starting and the team shy of skill forwards, the Maple Leafs cancelled Kadri’s ticket to the minors issued on Wednesday and sent him to re-join the parent team. Kadri, who had made a faster-than-expected recovery from an MCL injury, had been directed to the farm to get in game shape, in part because rookie Matt Frattin’s play had warranted keeping him on the main roster.
But now the Leafs are scrambling both their forward lines and defensive pairings in light of the injury to Armstrong and the need to get some muscle in the lineup Thursday against what’s expected to be a belligerent Bruins team.
Toronto scrubbed its morning skate at TD Garden, but it’s expected that one of Colton Orr or Jay Rosehill will be added to the lineup along with third-liner Kadri.
David Steckel’s addition to the power play as a faceoff specialist ahead of Tyler Bozak might also be repeated. Big Cody Franson could be returning to the blueline in place of Jake Gardiner and the ice time for all six will be interesting to chart in light of Luke Schenn’s sudden decline in quality minutes.
In goal, the Leafs are giving Jonas Gustavsson his first NHL start since Jan. 19, while Boston, trying to straighten itself after a wobbly start of 2-4-0, goes back to Stanley Cup hero Tim Thomas after Tuukka Rask played Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Carolina. Coach Claude Julien altered his first line at the end of that game and indicated third-liner Chris Kelly would be taking the No. 1 role with Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin, while the ailing David Krejci remains a game-time decision.
All three top Boston lines were juggled the past couple of games.
“It’s not panic,” Julien said of his moves. “It’s about finding solutions. Panic is not a word I’d use.”
Julien’s team will have its hands full with Phil Kessel and Toronto’s No. 1 line, which is doing the bulk of scoring and keeping the Leafs undefeated in regulation (4-0-1).
“The Leafs take a lot of heat, but they are a legit team,” Julien said. “I watched last night (a 4-3 comeback shootout win over Winnipeg). They have speed and skill, the goaltending is solid, so I don’t know why anyone would take them lightly. They’re a team on the rise.”