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Injuries continue to hurt Leafs

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by John McCauley

TORONTO - The Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room is becoming more and more like a MASH unit, as players continue to fall victim to injuries.

The latest Leafs down are forwards Garry Valk, Tie Domi and Mikael Renberg.

Valk has been suffering with the same flu bug that kept Wade Belak in Toronto as the Leafs headed out on their four-game trip. Both players have lost around 10 pounds with the illness.

Belak became violently ill before Saturday night's game against the Sabres but Valk forced himself through until the third period of Monday's win in Washington. Valk isn't expected to play Wednesday in Detroit.

Domi took a spill during practice on Tuesday, which ignited back spasms that have been a problem for him before. He will make a game-time decision on his status for the Red Wings. Renberg has a pulled hamstring but is likely to play.

All of this comes on top of long-term injuries to Curtis Joseph (broken hand), Alex Mogilny (cracked vertebrae), Dmitry Yushkevich (blood clot). Things aren't much better in St. John's, the baby Leafs are down to 14 healthy players, so help isn't really an option.

Toronto will definitely be testing its depth and medical staff over the next couple weeks.

GMs bend the rules

The NHL Hockey Operations Department will refine definitions of the "hurry-up faceoff," the "tag-up" offside rule and a mid-ice obstruction crack down after discussions by the league's General Managers during the past three days of meetings.

When the rule changes are clearly defined it will be presented to the leagues GMs once again before submission to the Board of Governors for vote in June.

The "hurry-up faceoff" procedure was used at the Olympics and received widespread support from the GMs - in a form that would be more applicable to NHL play.

"We looked at a whole host of ways of moving the game along as quickly as we can," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "There are three things that we came out of the meeting wanting to pursue: One is hurry-up line changes/faceoffs, one is not allowing a defending player to use his stick or his free hand in the neutral zone to obstruct an offensive player who is not carrying the puck, and the other was a modified 'tag-up' rule. We want to pursue implementation of all three elements, but to do that we have to make sure we define them in a way that works."

Look for all three to be approved in June for next year's play.
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