The Leafs were on the ice today for practice despite the Thanksgiving holiday, but it was a pretty light affair, with some 2-on-2 scrimmages and a ping-pong game in the dressing room afterwards. It's all smiles on this team after a 2-0 start.
Things get a little tougher in terms of opponents with games on the road against the Penguins and Rangers on Wednesday and Friday. If they're still undefeated come Saturday, I get the feeling the city is going to go a little bananas. But what else is new there.
Truthfully, not a ton of news from practice today. Ron Wilson was on the ice for the skate but left immediately after to go watch the Marlies play the Abbotsford Heat at Ricoh, leaving assistant coach Tim Hunter to answer questions from the few reporters in attendance.
Below is about four minutes of audio from Hunter and some tidbits on injured defenceman Brett Lebda's recovery.
- Lebda (shoulder) was back at practice in a black jersey (defencemen generally wear grey) and said afterward he's hoping to return by Friday's game against the Rangers. It's hard to say whether or not he'll actually get into the lineup, however, given the Leafs have yet to lose (although that could change by Wednesday in Pittsburgh). "I don't know [if I'll get in]" Lebda said. "We're playing pretty well right now so I don't know if he wants to tamper with that. As long as we're winning, I'll do anything to help."
- Lebda on what's holding him back from playing: "My range is good, strength is good it's just making sure I can deal with the pain and making sure I don't injure it any further, that's the most important thing." He said he hasn't had any shoulder issues before.
- Hunter on the players who have yet to play a game: "You have to get some people in the lineup and somewhere along the line, we have to get Jonas [Gustavsson]in and give him a game and get his confidence going. Those are things that are kind of day to day -- we don't have a grand plan right now. But I know it won't be long before we get start to get some of these guys into the lineup. That'd be Mitchell, Lebda and whoever else."
- Even so, I expect Toronto will have the same lineup as the first two games in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The Penguins are playing in New Jersey this afternoon and are likely going to be pretty hungry after losing their first two of the season.
- I'll be in transit to Pittsburgh tomorrow for Wednesday's game and Mr. Shoalts will be in New York for Friday's game. If coverage is a little lighter this week, we're sitting in a car or airport somewhere. Will update as often as we can.