No Kaberle Again
MONTREAL--The Maple Leafs were hoping they'd have Tomas Kaberle tonight against their ancient rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.
Instead, with Kaberle again out of the lineup, they're not just hoping another week of rest for his battered right hand might have him back in a week against another Original Six club, the Boston Bruins.
Meanwhile, it now appears that the Canadiens will dress both defenceman Mike Komisarek and forward Andrei Kostitsyn for tonight's game after GM/head coach Bob Gainey hinted both would be scratched. The Canadiens chose not to precede the Leafs on to the Bell Centre ice surface for the morning skate today, instead using their practice facility in nearby Brassard, possibly to escape greater media scrutiny.
At practice on Friday, both Komisarek and Kostitsyn had skated as spares, leading to speculation they wouldn't play tonight. Gainey seemed to indicate that would be the case, but apparently had a chance of heart this morning.
Montreal will, however, scratch veteran blueliner Patrice Brisebois and will likely dress Ryan O'Byrne. Mathieu Schneider will apparently be a game time decision for family reasons.
Kaberle, meanwhile, was ruled out of tonight's game after x-rays of his injured hand suggested it hasn't healed enough to warrant a return to regular action.
"He won't be playing tonight, and he'll probably miss another week," said head coach Ron Wilson this morning. "It's not cautionary. He's just not ready to play."
Kaberle orginally broke his hand Jan. 29 in Denver and missed 13 games. He returned Feb. 28 for two games, but will miss his ninth consecutive game tonight despite having practiced full out with the club for several days.
His absence has opened the doors to other Leafs, including Brampton's own Phil Oreskovic. Wilson hinted this morning that he might even put Oreskovic in the starting lineup tonight against the Habs as a reward for his steady play since being recalled from the AHL Marlies.