January 20, 2012
Kaberle returns to T.O. as a Hab
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
|Tomas Kaberle. (MARTIN CHEVALIER/QMI Agency)
That the Montreal Canadiens were scheduled to arrive in Toronto in the wee hours of Saturday morning after playing in Pittsburgh on Friday night versus the Penguins mattered little to the Maple Leafs.
“Teams that play back to back sometimes come in and play better on the second night, so we are expecting a really big push from them,” Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said. “We know they have a lot of speed, and they added (Rene) Bourque, who brings a little more size. They’re a good team that maybe has not got the results they wanted, but we respect them. It’s going to be a big test.”
Leafs defenceman Mike Komisarek, who spent six seasons with Montreal before signing with the Leafs in 2009, said he and injured Habs defenceman Andrei Markov communicate regularly via text messaging.
Where Komisarek feels for his old pal, who is recovering from knee surgery, the sympathy does not necessarily extend to the plight of the Canadiens overall. They were 10 points out of a playoff spot prior to Friday night.
“I’m not concerned with what’s going on with other teams,” Komisarek said. “You move on.”
The game will mark defenceman Tomas Kaberle’s first in Toronto in a Canadiens sweater.
ISLES IN MIND
Few people will admit to having good dreams that involve the New York Islanders, but Darryl Boyce and Colby Armstrong are different.
The Leafs forwards are hopeful they can return to the lineup from injuries during Toronto’s home-and-home set with the Islanders on Monday and Tuesday.
Boyce, who has missed two games with back spasms, made it through practice on Thursday without any issues, and he will have a better idea on Saturday morning after a full sleep whether his back held up.
Armstrong, recovering from a concussion, was cleared for contact and also survived the workout. Both indicated they would like to be in action against the Islanders at some point. Armstrong has missed the past 14 games.
Nearly a year has passed since Boyce rammed his face into the corner glass at the Air Canada Centre, slicing his right nostril in the photographer’s camera hole.
Boyce suffered the injury last Feb. 3 against the Carolina Hurricanes. He could sympathize with Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall, who suffered a deep gash on his forehead when teammate Corey Potter stepped on him during a warmup on Tuesday.
“I don’t think it tops mine, but it’s a bad cut,” Boyce said. “All the way up to the hairline. I was thinking he might be out for a couple of weeks because putting your helmet on and having it jostle around on your head is going to rip those stitches out. He will have a nice scar.”
Komisarek turned 30 on Thursday, and had dinner with a few teammates.
“Guys were asking me, ‘How does it feel to be 30?’” Komisarek said. “I feel more mature, more sophisticated, feel like an old man.
“(Joey) Crabb said, ‘What does a guy like you want for your birthday?’ I told him I just wanted him to be quiet for five minutes. He said ‘Seriously, what do you want?’ I said ‘Crabby, just go out and score a goal.’ So he went out there and scored (against Minnesota).”
Jonas Gustavsson has won 10 of his past 14 starts ... When David Steckel assisted on Crabb’s goal against the Wild, it was his first assist since last Feb. 14, a span of 66 games. For a centre, that’s about as bad as it gets ... The Leafs will hold their 34th annual Skate for Easter Seals Kids on Sunday at the MasterCard Centre.
— Terry Koshan