Dave Bolland could begin skating with his Maple Leafs teammates later this week, according to coach Randy Carlyle.
Bolland, who has been out since Nov. 2 after suffering a severed tendon on the back of his ankle, is on target to practise Thursday.
“That’s the road to recovery,” Carlyle said.
Bolland travelled to Montreal to get a boot specifically designed to relieve pressure around the injury, Carlyle said. The 27-year-old is expected to be able to start wearing it Monday.
Once Bolland gets back on the ice, Carlyle expects him to go on the road with the Leafs when they fly to Phoenix and Denver next week.
Bolland had six goals and four assists in 15 games before getting hurt in Vancouver. The team gave only a vague time frame on his recovery after undergoing surgery in early November.
Toronto acquired Bolland from the Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks for a second-round pick and two fourth-rounders. Bolland, a Toronto native, scored the Cup-winning goal for the Blackhawks in Game 6 at the Boston Bruins.
Bolland is in the final season of a US$16.875-million, five-year contract. He’s set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
ILLNESS HITS LEAFS
Five players were missing from the Leafs’ Sunday morning skate: goaltender James Reimer, centre Tyler Bozak, winger Jerry D’Amigo and defencemen Tim Gleason and Mark Fraser. Their absences appeared to be linked to either a “flu bug or food poisoning,” according to Carlyle.
“There’s just too many of them under the weather and having the same symptoms,” Carlyle said. “We don’t quite have a finger on exactly what it is.”
In place of a second goaltender was a “shooter tutor” attached to the net. Jonathan Bernier got the start against the Devils.
Reimer, Bozak, D’Amigo and Gleason were on the ice for pre-game warm-ups and in uniform for the Leafs. Fraser, who was not projected to play, did not skate.