It was a day for the walking wounded and the spare parts as the Toronto Maple Leafs held an optional practice the morning after their road trip to Florida concluded on a sour note.
Speaking of sour notes, James Reimer’s first skate with his teammates since he hurt his left knee 10 days ago did not appear to go well. He seemed to be labouring during Wednesday’s session, which involved half a dozen Leafs. The only shots Reimer faced came from goaltender coach Rick St. Croix.
But word on Reimer’s progress will not come until at least Thursday, as he decided not to speak to the media after practice. The original forecast for Reimer was at least a week on the sideline. The next time Reimer is expected to skate is Thursday’s game-day skate before the Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre.
It is also not known when Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul will be able to play again after suffering a broken right forearm in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 23. He was on the ice for just the third time since the injury but restricted himself to working with skating coach Barb Underhill. He is expected to be out for a minimum of six weeks and that appears to still be the case.
“We’ll see how it goes. This is truly a day-by-day thing,” said Lupul, who no longer has a cast on his arm. “I took a week off right when it happened. Since then, I’ve been training off-ice and trying to make sure when I do get back everything is 100-per-cent.
“It’s one of those injuries, if you do come back early you can re-hurt it and you’re right back to square one. We’re not going to let that happen.”
When he does get back to work, Lupul says he will go right back to the spot where he got hurt – the front of the net, where a shot by teammate Dion Phaneuf hit him on the arm.
“If I didn’t go stand in front I wouldn’t be hurt; if I didn’t stand in front I wouldn’t be as successful as I have been here,” said Lupul, who had 25 goals in 66 games last season and noted former Philadelphia Flyers teammate Scott Hartnell suffered a broken foot the same night he was injured.
“When you got to tough areas things are going to happen. If you go to front of the net you’ll get some goals, and some bad things can happen.”