Injury bug can't derail Leafs

Defenceman Carl Gunnarson is the latest Leafs casualty, injuring a finger while blocking a shot in...

Defenceman Carl Gunnarson is the latest Leafs casualty, injuring a finger while blocking a shot in Dallas. He still expects to play Sunday in Anaheim. (SUN FILE PHOTO)

Terry Koshan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:17 AM ET

The plague of injuries is not how Brian Burke would have drawn it up, but the Maple Leafs general manager is pleased nonetheless.

“Everyone is grabbing the rope and pulling harder,” Burke said. “The mark of a good organization is one that can sustain losses and still play efficiently. I think we have some depth and that is showing now.”

Two Leafs who were hurt on Friday in Dallas — centre David Steckel and defenceman Carl Gunnarsson — said on Saturday they are hopeful they can play on Sunday against the Ducks. Both had finger injuries after blocking a shot, and both had x-rays afterward.

“I want to make sure I am okay to play with the injury as opposed to making anything worse,” Steckel said. “Right now, it’s not ideal, but it is doable.”

Said Gunnarsson, who found humour in his situation: “Right now, it’s a mid-body injury. But when I pick my nose, it’s an upper-body injury. It’s getting better.”

Korbinian Holzer could take Gunnarsson’s place if the latter was not ready, but the thinking is the Leafs were going to recall Keith Aulie from the Toronto Marlies. Jay Rosehill likely would take Steckel’s spot.

Of the six regulars who have missed games, goalie James Reimer, now recovering well from concussion-like symptoms, and centre Mikhail Grabovski, who has a lower-body problem, are closest to returning. Also out are defenceman Mike Komisarek (arm) and forwards Mike Brown (lower body), Colby Armstrong (ankle), and Matthew Lombardi (shoulder).

Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens have held the fort in Reimer’s absence, while rookies Jake Gardiner, Matt Frattin and Joe Colborne have been growing into their responsibilities.

“Guys are picking up the slack,” Burke said. “We’re lucky to have Dallas Eakins coaching (the Toronto Marlies). He is a great teacher.”

 


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