(Mike Brown had back surgery and missed 22 games)
The Maple Leafs head in to Saturday’s matchup against the Detroit Red Wings under a hat trick of good fortune. The team welcomes forward Mike Brown and defenceman Mike Komisarek back into the linueup who have missed 22 and 21 games respectively. Also, captain Dion Phaneuf will not miss any game action after taking a puck in the face two days ago late in the game against Winnipeg.
“Brown is always aggressive on the forecheck,” said coach Ron Wilson after the morning skate.” You don’t have to remind him to finish his checks. He’s going to finish every check and stand up for his teammates, block shots and do a lot of detail work.”
Wilson didn’t tip his hand as to which defenceman will sit in place of Komisarek, however chances are high that Jake Gardiner – who was the last blueliner to leave the ice at Air Canada Centre this morning – will be the odd-man out.
Komisarek joked with reporters about the role that he will play in today’s game. “I’ll be carrying the puck on the power-play, making fancy plays, and I’ll be first or second in the shootout!” said Komisarek, who has 14 career goals in 488 career games played.
Phaneuf was described by teammates as ‘looking like Two-Face from Batman’ and ‘having a softball on his cheek’ after absorbing the puck off the stick of the Jets’ Andrew Ladd two nights ago. The captain did not speak to the media on Saturday morning, but sported a full cage at the beginning of practice, switching to half-visor minutes later.
“He’s battling through it right now, and you admire a guy for being able to play through it,” said Cody Franson.
The Leafs are facing a rested Detroit team that last played in a 5-4 win in Dallas on Tuesday night. Jonas Gustavsson gets the nod in the Toronto goal.
Rob Del Mundo is the author of Blue And White Beat, and is a regular columnist at TMLfans.ca
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