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Carl Gunnarsson leaves practice after collision with Jay Rosehill



Carl Gunnarsson celebrates with Jake Gardiner

PHOTO: mapleleafs.com

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson left practice this morning after suffering an injury due to a collision with Jay Rosehill. It's sad enough that Jay Rosehill gets to practice with the team and collect an NHL salary, but now he could be on the bad side of many Leaf fans if in fact Gunnarsson is out for a substantial period of time.

Apparently Rosehill and Gunnarsson collided during practice and Gunnarsson was helped off the ice. He seems to have injured his leg and Ron Wilson suggested that "an image" would need to be taken and reviewed before the team can correctly evaluate the injury. It sounds like he's definitely going to miss some time, but hopefully its not a long-term injury.

Despite the fact that the Leafs have quite a bit of depth on defense, they have some big shoes to fill. Gunnarsson has arguable been the Leafs best defenseman this season. He's a steady defender, who also has some offensive flare. Any replacement the Leafs put into the line-up will not be as good as Gunnarsson has been this season.

Mike Komisarek, who has been a healthy scratch for the last handful of games, will likely return to the line-up if Gunnarsson misses time. Next in the depth charts is probably Keith Aulie, but I would like to see the Leafs call up Korbinian Holzer to actually play a game or two so we can truly evaluate him in an NHL setting. There has been a lot of talk that Holzer is "NHL ready", but he has yet to play in a game this season despite being called up several times.

On the heels of a three-game losing streak, things aren't looking good for the Leafs, but they have to simply play through their injuries, like every other team in the league. The teams playoff hopes have fallen from near certainty to being on par with the others fighting for a spot. Toronto needs to win tomorrow night and get at least 4 points in their next three games. They are currently on a three-game road trip against western Canadian teams with a few days off between Wednesday and Saturday's games, but the schedule doesn't get any easier for them down the stretch. There are few rest days and the Leafs have back-to-back games six more before the end of the season.

The Leafs also have big games against the teams they've been fighting for a playoff spot with. They play the Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals, and New Jersey Devils twice each. They also have one more game against the Ottawa Senators. Two regulation wins against either of those teams might be enough to bury one of them by the end of the season.

The Leafs (28-22-6) are in Calgary tomorrow night as they play the Flames (26-22-8). Puck drop is at 9pm EST.



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