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Life as a shot blocker isn't generally much fun, something the Leafs' Mike Brown has discovered the past week.

After taking a Kris Versteeg slap shot to the groin in practice last week that kept him out of a game, Brown badly broke his finger last night after blocking a shot by Ryan Malone near the end of the game. Coach Ron Wilson said the early word is that Brown could be out up to six weeks.

"There's probably a pretty good possibility he's going to need a pin put in to set it right," Wilson said. "That would probably mean four to six weeks. But I haven't heard or gotten an email from anybody yet.

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"Considering that he's still kind of sore where it counts, that he went down like he did and blocked that shot, tells you something about Mike Brown. And then he went down again to block another shot after he shattered his finger. So pretty courageous effort on his part."

Brown was not at the practice rink today and was unavailable for comment, but his teammates had plenty of good things to say about his effort in a losing cause.

"Brownie was throwing everything but the kitchen sink in front of shots," winger Clark MacArthur said. "Those guys just lay it on the line. Think about a guy like Mike Brown, blocks a shot, breaks two bones in his finger, gets up and goes and blocks another shot. And then we lose the game.

"Every team should have a guy like that."

Brown is second among Leafs forwards in blocked shots with 19, one less than Versteeg despite limited ice time. He's become a favourite among fans and teammates this season for his worth ethic.


- Jean-Sebastien Giguere is ready to go after missing two weeks with a groin injury, but Jonas Gustavsson will get his seventh straight start against the Oilers tomorrow. Don't be surprised to see Giguere start against Boston on Saturday.

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- Captain Dion Phaneuf remains a week or two away from returning from a skate cut injury. Expect him to make the trip to Western Canada in mid-December, where he'll face his former team in Calgary.

- Wilson on Colby Armstrong, who has been out since the eighth game of the season with an injury to a tendon in his hand: "He's very close. He's been given clearance and that's why we're doing all the battle stuff to go full go and now it's just getting his legs under him in the compete stuff. Hopefully Saturday he'll be ready to play."

- Always a practical joker, Armstrong said at practice he needs a better explanation for how he received the big ugly scar down the middle of his hand. The tendon in his hand became detached while he was passing the puck in a really freak injury. "I'm going to come up with something way better than [saying it happened in a fight] Like, you know, I was fighting a dinosaur, something like that."

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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