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Bolland, Bernier near returns, Leafs hope to get healthy for Habs, stretch run

Friday, 03.21.2014 / 11:35 AM / News

The Canadian Press

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Bolland, Bernier near returns, Leafs hope to get healthy for Habs, stretch run

TORONTO - Dave Bolland took part in line rushes at Toronto Maple Leafs practice, a positive sign that the centre who hasn't played since November could be nearing a return.

Bolland has been working to get back following surgery to repair a severed tendon in the back of his right ankle. He was cut by Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian's skate blade Nov. 2.

At Friday's practice, Bolland skated on the Leafs' third line between Mason Raymond and David Clarkson. The 27-year-old has been practising with teammates for some time, but this represented another sign of progress.

It was not immediately clear if Bolland was going to play Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens. The Leafs would have to send players down to the minors to remove him from long-term injured reserve.

Bolland had recently taken line rushes but had a setback that delayed his return.

Goaltender Jonathan Bernier also participated in his first full practice since suffering a groin injury March 13 in Los Angeles. Drew MacIntyre remained with the team, but Bernier and James Reimer spent the vast majority of the time in the two nets.

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It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun.

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday
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