Connolly Recovery Slower Than Expected
Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 4:33 PM ET
Injured Leafs forward Tim Connolly won’t be back any time soon. After practice on Thursday, Connolly spoke with the media and said that the injury is no longer day-to-day.
“I don’t know if it’s day-to-day now it might be a little bit longer but I don’t want to speculate,” Connolly said. “Whether it is a week or two weeks before I’m playing I don’t know.”
The Rochester, New York native will continue to skate in order to keep his conditioning up to par but he isn’t sure when he will make his Maple Leafs debut.
“For me personally I have to keep my conditioning up but as far as my upper body I have to give it time to heal,” he said.
Connolly didn’t get into specifics about what type of injury he is suffering from although he did say it wasn’t a neck or head injury, just an upper body injury.
“I know there was some speculation that it was the head or the neck but it’s not that at all I can tell you 100 per cent,” Connolly said.
When the injury first occurred, Connolly rested for a few days before getting back on the ice but it didn’t take long for him to realize he still had significant discomfort.
“The swelling and pain went down and I got back out there and I thought it would be OK but the pain was pretty severe. I realized that it was going to be longer and I had to back off the shooting, puck handling,” Connolly said.
One would think that not being able to play would leave him frustrated but Connolly remains upbeat.
“Coming to the arena and obviously the guys getting the two wins makes it easier,” he noted. “Getting wins is the most important thing but I have to stay focused and be mentally tough.”
While Connolly talked of weeks, head coach Ron Wilson had this interpretation:
“It depends on the days. Are days on Mars longer in terms of hours? As far as I’m concerned he is day-to-day and when he is ready to play we will let you know.”
In Connolly’s absence, Tyler Bozak is back centering Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. After two games, the trio has combined for 10 points and a +10 rating.
“I think we’ve done well as a line,” Bozak said. “We’ve kept pucks out of our net and we’ve contributed offensively but it has been two games and we have to stay consistent.”
Bozak has recorded one assist in the two games but he knows that it is hard to bask in success knowing one of his teammates is injured.
“I’m not hoping for guys to get injured so when he isn’t playing I have to fill in for him and do a good job and that is the main thing,” Bozak said.
Special Teams Work: After three days of practice in Trenton, the Leafs worked on special teams for the hour-long skate at MasterCard Centre Thursday.
Through just two games, the Leafs’ power play is at 15.4% . The Leafs will need to improve with the man advantage as last season they finished at 16% which was eighth worst in the NHL.
“We’ve dedicated a lot of time during our practices on special teams but today was focused on that specifically,” Wilson said.
There are a few things that teams need to do to be successful with the man advantage but Clarke MacArthur said it is quite simple.
“Getting more shots and traffic to the net,” MacArthur said. “Look at Detroit, they shoot the puck from everywhere and they get bad goals. They get the puck through and they have traffic at the net that is how they score goals.”
Kadri is close: While the news on Connolly wasn’t great, Nazem Kadri continues to improve from his MCL sprain and he hopes he will see game action next week.
There is a bit of caution however in not wanting to rush back.
“The tricky thing with the MCL is if you come back too soon you put yourself at risk for further injury,” Kadri said.