Sundin out indefinitely with fractured wrist
The Toronto Maple Leafs will have to make it through the Stanley Cup playoffs without captain Mats Sundin.
Sundin, who did not play in last night's 4-3 Game 4 loss to the New York Islanders, has a fractured bone in his left wrist and will be "out indefinitely," said Leafs head coach and general manager Pat Quinn.
Sundin was injured in the opening game of the Leafs' first-round Eastern Conference quarter-final series against the Isles when he was struck by a puck while blocking a shot.
"It's frustrating and disappointing, for sure," the Leafs' captain and leading scorer said.
Sundin said the injury occurred last Thursday when he was mixing it up with the Islanders' Claude Lapointe in front of goalie Curtis Joseph. Sundin raised his arm to block a shot and was hit by the puck. Because of the short-cuffed gloves he wears -- and which most players wear -- his wrist was left exposed.
Though an X-ray the next day revealed the fracture, Sundin played Games 2 and 3, having to resort to injections to numb the pain.
A cast was put on Sundin's wrist Wednesday, and he skated in the team's pre-game warm-up but the pain was too great and he went to the dressing room for the duration of the game.
Though losing a 41-goal scorer is never an ideal situation, especially in the playoffs, Sundin's teammates believe the Leafs are still contenders even without their star.
"We can't do much about it," said forward Garry Valk. "We nearly won Wednesday and nobody was giving up.
"We're going to show as much effort in front of our home fans in Game 5. Hopefully, they'll be as loud as the fans in Uniondale. We need them to be there for us.
"We don't need anybody giving up on us. We've battled through a lot. This is just another obstacle we have to overcome."
Sundin's injury is the latest blow to an already injury-laden Leafs roster.
Mikael Renberg (hamstring), Dmitry Yushkevich (blood clot in leg) and Cory Cross (groin) are also watching from the sidelines. And those aren't the only aches and pains. More Leafs are playing through injuries, including Gary Roberts (pulled rib muscle), Alexander Mogilny (strained back) and Shayne Corson (hip pointer).
"We have to have other guys step up," Quinn said. "We have to suck it up and go at it."
Alyn McCauley agreed: "We'll have to count on every single player to do a little more. We can't replace Mats' skill or his leadership on the ice but we can all pick up our game."
There's no word on when Sundin could return to the lineup, but the preliminary diagnosis by Leafs' therapist Chris Broadhurst is four to six weeks. That means Sundin could possibly return to the ice if the Leafs make it to the third round of the playoffs.
Quinn recalled Alexei Ponikarovsky from the Leafs' AHL farm team in St. John's to take Sundin's spot.
Game 5 returns to the ACC in Toronto, Friday night (7 p.m., ET, CBC).