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DiDomenico Slowly Working Way Back

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs

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Chris DiDomenico was in full equipment and skating at the Master Card Centre for Hockey Excellence, Thursday morning.

That in itself is good news. When he broke his left femur May 7 in a playoff game while playing for the Drummondville Voltigeurs last May, doctors gave a soft prediction of four to six months before he could return.

This marks his second full week of skating. The leg, he said, won’t make your eyes bleed.

“It’s good. It doesn’t look too ugly.”

DiDomenico is on the outside edge of that timeframe but the recovery for the 19-year-old rolls forward.

“The injury was a long time ago,” he said. “It’s good to be back.”

Recovery means a tough regimen. He builds up his lower body through weight training and then hits the ice for 90 minutes to two hours. It’s just him and a 100 or so pucks.

Then he works on his upper body. DiDomenico says he has put on 25 pounds over the last year.

If all goes well, he could be playing as soon as February.

DiDomenico is following the World Junior selection camp. Nearly a year ago, DiDomenico, a sixth-round choice in 2007 used the tournament as a springboard.

Last year, former Leafs coach Pat Quinn put DiDomenico on a line with John Tavares and Angelo Esposito. DiDomenico, never the strongest skater, thrived as a cornerman to the two junior stars.

He said he was at peace with the fact that he would not be on hand to help Canada at this year’s tournaments.

“I’ve been there and had the experience,” he said. “These kids will have their own experiences now.”

DiDomenico is used to the kind of long odds faced by a player coming off a serious leg break. He was a walk-on with the St. John Sea Dogs who fired 75 goals in 166 games with the expansion team before his trade to Drummondville.

Although he has a year left in junior, DiDomenico hopes that when he does return he will be playing for the AHL Marlies.”

“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I take the positive out of things. This gave me a chance to put on the extra weight.”
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