No Eric, No Eddie, No Problem
by John McCauley
December 12, 2005
(TORONTO) -- Fans hoping to see the continuation of the Eric Lindros/Mats Sundin experiment will have to wait. At least until the "Big E" returns from what Pat Quinn said is a wrist injury.
Lindros was not in the lineup as the Leafs ended their three-game slide with a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks Monday night at Air Canada Centre.
The former Hart Trophy winner wasn't the only Maple Leafs All-Star missing from the lineup.
Ed Belfour didn't dress from the first time this season because of some groin soreness said the coach. J.S. Aubin was recalled from the Marlies to back up Mikael Tellqvist, who recorded his second straight win.
The victory comes as the team is looking at four consecutive days off before playing in Ottawa on Saturday night. That time is just what the doctor ordered for the two big cogs in Toronto's lineup.
The team's training staff is going to be building a brace for Lindros that should enable him to play, but nothing is for certain at this point according to Quinn.
"We didn't know the severity of it before ... minor tear in the ligaments there," said Quinn. "Possibility he could play with the brace. That's what we are hoping for."
Clarke Wilm replaced Lindros in the lineup and he continued his journeyman work for the Leafs.
"Clarke is one of those dogged guys," said Quinn. "Probably something we needed in the centre position."
The type and timing of the injury to Belfour bodes well. In fact it wasn't until the pregame skate that it was decided he would not be in the net. The Leafs lost nothing with the way Tellqvist has been performing this season and more importantly of late.
"After the pregame skate was done I found out," said Tellqvist. "I don't get too many starts at ACC so it felt good."
Despite the injury concerns the Leafs were able to come up with two powerplay goals and held the Ducks scoreless in eight PP opportunities. Not bad for a team that was really struggling either with the man advantage or without it. Quinn isn't looking to continue working on the specials team during this week of practise. He wants the teams' five-on-five to improve drastically.
"We have to build our possession game back up ... be strong on our checking," said Quinn. "We need to be more assertive. We need to get the circles out of our game."
All those things will need to be markedly improved if the Leafs hope to derail the Senators on Saturday.