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Leafs' Bozak out indefinitely with oblique injury, Kessel to play vs. Stars

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

TORONTO - Given the injuries that have plagued the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nazem Kadri is just glad it's not a lockout-shortened season.

Kadri's back from a one-game absence to attend his grandfather's funeral, but when the Leafs take the ice Thursday night against the Dallas Stars, they will be without centre Tyler Bozak and enforcer Colton Orr.

Bozak will be out "an extended period of time" with an oblique strain, coach Randy Carlyle said. Bozak, who was placed on injured reserve, suffered the injury in Tuesday night's loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Orr had a "procedure" on a bursa sac in his elbow, according to Carlyle.

Star winger Phil Kessel will play despite leaving practice Wednesday with an undisclosed injury, Carlyle said. Kessel hasn't missed a game the past three-plus seasons, and Kadri called him the team's "iron man."

"That's a tribute to the player," Carlyle added. "He finds ways to get through the game and get through practice and get himself ready for the rigours of playing an NHL season. Those are things that we'd like (from) every player on our team."

But the Leafs don't have that. With Bozak and Orr out, the Leafs recalled Jerry D'Amigo from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, and Carlyle called the winger an "option" to play against Dallas.

"They need a spark, and hopefully I can be that spark," D'Amigo said.

Whether Amigo plays or not, Leafs will again have several holes in their lineup. Winger Joffrey Lupul is out with a groin injury, while centre Dave Bolland still hasn't resumed skating after suffering a severed tendon in his ankle in late October.

"One of the adjustments to make when guys go down, you kind of change your game plan up a little bit," Kadri said.

Carlyle chafed Thursday morning at continued discussion of injured players. His focus is on the players available to him.

"The way we have to shift it is, the focus has to go on the players that are playing, not the players that aren't playing," Carlyle said. "We can't change that. That's our job and that's our mandate for our coaching staff is to focus on the things that we have control over, and that's what we have control over."

Follow Stephen Whyno on Twitter at @SWhyno.

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