By: David Alter
After missing 23 games with a high-ankle sprain, Colby Armstrong is set to return to the lineup tomorrow night when the Leafs visit the Washington Capitals.
Armstrong, injured early in a Leafs 4-3 shootout win over Winnipeg, practiced on a line with Tim Connolly and Joey Crabb at Thursday’s practice.
“It’s been frustrating and tough, you know I worked hard to get back” said a relieved Armstrong. “I worked upper-body in the rehab, and bag skating by myself for awhile now, that was my first real practice with the team and it felt pretty good.”
It’s been a tenure full of injuries for Armstrong since he signed with the Maple Leafs in the off-season of 2010. He suffered a broken foot to end last season. A fluke eye injury and a finger injury added to it, all of which limited him to just 50 games last season.
“I think I’ve just had some tough luck” says Armstrong. “I have to play the same way I’ve always played. I’m too old to change now.”
Armstrong played in just 50 games last season due to injuries in which he had eight goals and 23 points. He averaged a little over 16 minutes of ice time.
“That’s another bullet in the gun for us because he plays a 200ft. game” said Head Coach Ron Wilson about Armstrong’s return.
The return of Armstrong means a roster move had to be made as Joe Colborne was returned to the Marlies. Colborne has a goal and three assists in nine games with the Leafs this season
MacArthur Returns Too
When referring to Colby Armstrong’s linemates at practice, Wilson said those may not be the lines we see against the Capitals as he feels MacArthur will be ready to return to the lineup. MacArthur seemed hopefull as well but he’s clearly not 100%.
“I got hurt right at the end of the first period (of the Leafs 4-2 win over the Rangers), I got spun around in the corner and I kind of sprained it (shoulder) a little bit, I”ll try to tape it and hopefully play tomorrow.”
MacArthur says it’s a different shoulder injury, than the one that he had been bother with a month ago.
Wilson expects MacArthur will play despite the fact that he was wearing a non-contact jersey at practice.
Ron Wilson says he hasn’t made a decision yet as to who starts in goal against the Capitals. When James Reimer was asked if he would be between the pipes his response suggested he felt he would.
“I think so” said Reimer. ” I’m pretty sure I am, but I have not been told officially.”
Reimer has played well, but hasn’t won a game in his two starts since his return. Jonas Gustavssson has won five of his last six starts, a stretch that started with a 40 saves performance against the Capitals, his best game statistically this season.
Lines at Practice
non-contact - MacArthur