TORONTO - Injuries are something every team has to deal with but they're starting to become a handful for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Early in the first period of the Leafs 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, Bryan McCabe joined Eddie Belfour on the sidelines with a hand injury. On the very next night, his replacement.
McCabe took an Ian Moran shot off his left hand while trying to defend his net. The play continued for close to 50 seconds with McCabe writhing in pain and his glove discarded in the slot. The defenceman was treated by trainers on the bench but was then whisked to the dressing room soon there after.
| Tie Domi scored his second powerplay goal of the year in the loss. |
Graig Abel Photography
Initial reports are that McCabe hasn't broken any bones in his hand but still remains questionable for Thursdays tilt versus the Coyotes at Air Canada Centre. The tough defenceman practised Wednesday with the team and passed the puck crisply but didn't do much shooting.
Belfour is out after picking up an infection in his right thumb. He scratched the area taking off his equipment in the team's final preseason game. The infection flared up on the plane after the Leafs season opener in Pittsburgh last Thursday. Belfour also practiced with the team on Wednesday.
His replacement Trevor Kidd wasn't as strong in net against the Pens or the Rangers as he was in his debut versus the Ottawa Senators but it's hard to blame the netminder when three goals come on the powerplay as they did against Pittsburgh. The Penguins were 3-for-5 with the man advantage and if the Leafs want to be successful their penalty kill must improve.
"It isn't very good." Quinn said of the penalty killing. "(Pittsburgh) has some very skilled guys. You give them the kind of room they had out there ... two of them, at least two anyway, walked right out of the corners untouched. Not a soul, not a white sweater in sight. We are positionally not very sound and we aren't doing a very good job right now."
On the other hand the Leafs powerplay has been potent. In the Pittsburgh game, Toronto went 4-for-8 and even appeared to have scored with the goalie pulled in the final minute. Alex Mogilny swiped in a rebound with 24.2 seconds left, but the referees disallowed it because the back of the net had been pushed forward by Shayne Corson.
Corson was tangled up with a Pittsburgh player, who had his stick around his waist hooking him.
"All I know is I was getting hooked pretty badly at the time," Corson said. "I thought the puck was in the net already but I'm not the ref and I'm not the goal judge." BAD LUCK?
Mario Lemieux scored the game-winning goal by banking the puck off of Trevor Kidd from behind the net. The Penguins were on the powerplay because Mikael Renberg was called for holding the stick when in fact he was picking up his own stick in a scrum for the puck in the offensive end.
"I feel that I didn't do anything wrong," Renberg said. "It's hard if you don't allow the players to battle. That's what makes this game so great."