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Fraser texts teammates, recovering after surgery

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO -- A slap shot to the head followed by surgery wasn't enough to keep Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser from texting his teammates.

The hard-nosed blueliner was drilled in the head by a shot from Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic at 7:49 of the third period of Game 4 of Toronto's opening round Stanley Cup Playoff series and immediately departed for the dressing room then the hospital, leaving a pool of blood behind on the ice.

"Mark Fraser is resting at home and he had surgery last night to repair a fracture between the eyes and cranial area," coach Randy Carlyle said Thursday morning at the team's practice facility. "I don't know if you'd call it a fractured skull; I think that's a little too severe. He was texting and in conversation with his teammates this morning before 8 a.m. He's now back on the road to recovery."

Carlyle said the 6-foot-4, 220-pound defender will be missed.

"He's a physical guy that is not known for his offensive abilities, but he's out there to make people pay the price and for his defensive ability," Carlyle said. "Any time you lose a player like that, somebody else has to step up. As a team, if we can capture the energy and execution level and stay with the program, there will be some benefits for us in this next game."

The Maple Leafs will insert veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles into the lineup for Game 5 Friday in Boston. The Bruins hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series after winning Game 4, 4-3, in overtime.

Liles has been a healthy scratch in three of the first four games. Defenseman Jesse Blacker, who was injured and did not play in the opening round of the Calder Cup playoffs with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, was called up.

Liles was asked if he has used his time in the press box to analyze the series and how he might impact it.

"I don't watch from the press box," he deadpanned. "I don't like heights."

Liles then said he in fact does watch the games and added, "It always looks different when you're not playing. The game looks slower, and when you go back and watch video you think, 'I could have made this play or that play.' You get out there and it's a completely different game."

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