One right-winger returns, another goes down with an injury.
The Toronto Maple Leafs
will welcome David Clarkson back
from his season-opening 10-game suspension in Columbus Friday night, but they may have lost the services of their second-leading scorer, Joffrey Lupul
, who left practice Thursday after being hit in the foot by a shot from defenceman Paul Ranger.
Lupul, you may recall, suffered a broken arm last season after being nailed by a Dion Phaneuf slapper.
The forward, who has six goals and 10 points in 10 games, was to have his foot X-rayed.
Toronto coach Randy Carlyle was upset with the fact Lupul was not wearing the foot protection that every player has been provided by the team.
"This is a little different because the new equipment, the shot-blockers, is available to all our players," Carlyle said. "It's hard to defend the position of [the players] not putting them on for practice. So there is a little bit extra frustration, or whatever word you want to use, to get an injury through practice where the protective equipment that is made available to the player, they don't want to wear it."
Carlyle said he would consider making the use of the protective equipment -- a plastic mould that attaches to the skate -- mandatory for practice.
"It is one of those things that we have addressed it once and everybody has been fitted for the moulds, but there are a couple of players that refuse to wear them," Carlyle said. "I don't know what else you can say."
Maple Leafs defenceman Cody Franson is one of the players that has not been wearing the protective mould, but he said that will change following Lupul's injury.
"They're a pain in the ass to wear," Franson said. "I already have big feet so adding even a little extra weight to my skate is a pain. But if it is going to save an injury then I am going to start wearing them."Rielly staying
Teenage defenceman Morgan Rielly
has been assured by the Maple Leafs that he will not be sent back to junior hockey following his ninth NHL game. There was a chance he could have been sent back to play with Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League.
Playing in a 10th game means the 19-year-old will burn off one of the three years on his entry-level contract. In eight games with the Maple Leafs Rielly has four assists.
"I'm pretty happy it's all over with and I don't have to answer questions about it probably until Christmas time," Rielly said. "We'll have to wait to see what happens with that. It's over with up to this point, anyway."
Rielly was referring to the world junior championship at the end of the calendar year. The Maple Leafs could choose to make him available to Team Canada for the tournament in Malmo, Sweden. Rielly played for Canada at the last tournament and would be in the running to be team captain this time.
As for playing in the NHL, Rielly has been quick to acclimatize himself to the professional game. He is fast, creative and has the courage to use both of those skills without hesitation. He is averaging 18 minutes of ice time per game and said he feels as though he has earned this opportunity.
"Yes, to an extent I have," Rielly said. "I have to keep working hard and trying to get better. I'm not happy with being just OK. I want to keep getting better here and hopefully with time and more experience I'll be able to do that."
Rielly, the fifth overall pick in 2012, has impressed coach Carlyle.
"We have told him to find a roommate," Carlyle said. "We think it is important that as a 19-year-old he live with somebody and we have a few options. We're not guaranteeing the player will be here for the whole year. The 10-game barrier will be gone. The option of him going to the American Hockey League is not there for us. He'll either play with us or go back to junior."Injury updates
Two injured Maple Leafs, right-winger Nikolai Kulemin and defenceman Mark Fraser, did a little light skating and some shooting drills prior to practice Thursday morning. Each player has missed the past eight games -- Kulemin with an ankle injury and Fraser with a knee injury. Both players will travel with the Maple Leafs, but neither is expected to play for a while yet.
Injured left-winger Frazer McLaren has been cleared to play. McLaren has yet to dress for a game after breaking his finger in training camp.Great Scott
There is a lot of talk that Buffalo Sabres giant John Scott will receive a minimum 10-game suspension from the NHL for his blind-side hit
on Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson on Wednesday.
Given the fact Scott started a line brawl in the pre-season when he went after Toronto right-winger Phil Kessel and there have been a number of head-hit suspensions recently, the league could choose to make an example of Scott and give him more than 10.
That said, even if it is just 10 games, that would be less than 50 minutes of actual playing time Scott would miss based on his average of 4:57 per game. That would not seem like much of a punishment. The league might be better off forcing the Sabres to play the grinder 17 minutes a game for 10 games.
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