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Leafs Getting Ready for Sabres

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

by Matthew Iaboni

March 30, 2006

With the Toronto Maple Leafs back on the ice Thursday for a light practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena, a familiar face was back at the rink.

Goalie Ed Belfour who has been out of the lineup since March 10 with a back injury, dropped in to see his teammates and speak with head coach Pat Quinn.

"I just saw him," Quinn said. "He's been told by more than one doctor that he requires an operation."

The Leafs netminder was very disappointed that he couldn't help his teammates as they make a push for the post-season.

"The last thing I wanted to happen down the stretch was this," Belfour said.

After meeting with numerous doctors, Belfour will undergo surgery -something that he couldn't avoid.

"We tried to find a way and it's just not going to happen. It's a herniation of the lumbar spine and the herniation is so large there is no way to get around it without surgery."

In Belfour's absence, Mikael Tellqvist and J.S. Aubin have taken over and both have played well for the Leafs, but Quinn isn't sure if Aubin has taken over the number-one spot.

"I don't know that, he's played two solid games," Quinn said of Aubin. "We elected with all the number of games that Telly has played, we decided to give him (Aubin) one, he played well and he got two and he may get more but to say he's the guy with the ball wouldn't be the right thing to say at this point because I'm not sure."
Aubin and Tellqvist have taken over for Belfour.
(Getty Images/NHLI)

Quinn did say that he is likely to go with the hot hand on Saturday against Buffalo.

Aubin for his credit has relished the opportunity to get back in the NHL and show what he can do.

"It's been great. All positive and so far so good," Aubin said. "You have to come into the game positive to make everyone comfortable."

The Leafs announced on Thursday that centre Jason Allison underwent successful surgery on his left hand.

With Belfour and Eric Lindros out for the rest of the season and Allison out for at least six weeks, Quinn would like to see all three around the rest of the squad through the home stretch.

"I want Ed's presence, Eric's presence and Jason's they're still part of our team."

Kyle Wellwood now has an opportunity to move into the second-line centre role and gives him a chance to play with Darcy Tucker.

"We would like to get Darcy going and I've been playing with him the last few games and I have to try and get him going," Wellwood said. "He's probably my favourite winger and hopefully I can get him some goals and make him happy."

A player who hopes to receive encouraging medical news tomorrow after he meets with concussion specialist Dr. Karen Johnson is defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo who has been out since late January.

"I feel a lot better, I'm hardly having any symptoms, I can do a lot more, my energy level is a lot higher everything is better," he said.

Being out for two months and not being able to do anything was the toughest part for the young blueliner.

"I miss the game of hockey which is what I enjoy doing and it's my passion in life and the game that I really miss," he said. "I'm really excited to get back."

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