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D-man Dermott hopes to be in lineup Saturday

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TSN Toronto reporter Mark Masters checks in daily with news and notes on the Maple Leafs, who practised at MasterCard Centre on Thursday.

While Jake Gardiner’s timeline for his return to the blueline from a back injury remains up in the air, the situation with Travis Dermott seems a lot clearer. After missing 14 games with a shoulder injury, the defenceman skated in a regular sweater and on a regular pairing at practice Thursday. Will he play against the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday?

"Hopefully," he said, "still a little bit up in the air, but I think it’s pretty hopeful so working towards that, for sure."

"He hasn’t been cleared yet," Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said. "They never give you that get-out-of-jail card until the last second, but, I mean, he’s wearing black, he's ready to go."

Dermott has been out since getting hurt in a game against the Oilers in Edmonton on Feb. 27.

"These guys in here have been working me so hard so that I don't have to second-guess myself when I come back," Dermott said. "That’s the biggest thing for me, whether that takes a game or two just try to get that out of my mind and make sure every shift I’m out there not thinking about second-guessing myself."

Dermott skated on the right side on a pairing with Martin Marincin at practice.

"I love Marv," the 22-year-old said with a grin. "I’ve called him ‘Dad,’ since the Marlies days. He’s a good guy to have around, a great guy to talk to. He’s kind of shy when you........