Karel Pilar. I just got used to pronouncing his name, and now he's going to be out till the New Year, and perhaps longer?
We'll get more details today, presumably, but it looks like Pilar is on the shelf with heart problems -- a recurrence of the viral myopathy that has interrupted his career twice before. Tim Wharnsby has a story in today's Globe, following on a report out of the Czech Republic, with confirmation from Pilar's agent:
"If everything goes well, around Christmas, Karel should put his skates on and start training again. The specialist from Montreal is optimistic."
Good for the specialist. Leafs fans wouldn't know optimism if it stood on the corner and asked 'em for a bowl of soup. Let's hope Pilar gets better, for his own sake. But for the Leafs, with two weeks until camp opens, what else can go wrong? They've got head cases. They've got back troubles. Now they've got a pain right in the heart, from a guy who was looking more and more like a solid contributor, after those earlier problems?
So what now? Will Carlo Colaiacovo step up? Is there anyone else in the system, or outside of it, who can fill the void? (If Chris Chelios can still play, and Scott Stevens might, has anyone bothered to ask Borje Salming?)
Elsewhere, the usual thin gruel. Ken Hitchcock has been given a one-year extension with the Flyers, and you have to like the way he's talking in this Hitch quote from the Philadelphia Daily News:
"In my opinion, management has done a terrific job at giving us the parts of a very, very competitive team and come training camp it will be my opportunity to see what I can do with it. And if people think that we have a championship-type team, then that's great because that means that people will come to watch us. I love that responsibility."
I guess Hitch has been looking at the early Stanley Cup odds.
Felix Potvin -- remember him? Sure you do -- may end up in Atlanta.
Then there is Shane Doan, rustler and cattle puncher (okay, I really don't know if he's ever punched a cattle). Nice piece from Dan Bickley in the Arizona Republic on the Phoenix captain, including Doan noting the time Johnny Cash showed up on his ranch. Wouldn't you love to have been there? Yeah, but right now, I'd settle for Karel Pilar back, and soon.