The Toronto Marlies lost Kasperi Kapanen not too long ago as the result of questionable hit, and it appears they’re going to be stuck in a rough situation once again with their other star forward. In the third period of this afternoon’s 2-1 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds, Leipsic was hit along the boards by Kyle Rau and looked to be woozy as he got up.
Brendan Leipsic gets wrecked by Kyle Rau along the boards and heads to the room. Don’t want to say the C-word, but this doesn’t look good. pic.twitter.com/uh2ci1C9Jl
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) January 22, 2017
Leipsic took some time to get onto the bench, and immediately headed to the dressing room. Now, unlike the Dotchin hit on Kapanen or, say, Dan Kelly’s hit on Andreas Johnsson last year, this one seems to be legitimately unfortunate. Kyle Rau has a clean reputation as a player and as a hitter, and a 5’8, he’s usually not the guy looking for open ice checks.
What happens here is that Leipsic isn’t able to completely receive the pass from Justin Holl and tries to kick it back up to his skate. He leans and looks down after the kick doesn’t come as smooth as he had hoped, and Rau finishes his check. On both sides, this one is complicated; you’d like to see Rau let up once he sees Leipsic in that spot, but he didn’t really do much wrong with his check. You know Leipsic wasn’t making a normal “head down” play, but he should’ve abandoned hopes of retrieval sooner.
Either way, he missed the rest of the game. Toronto Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe didn’t have much to say about Leipsic’s status afterward. “I haven’t talked to anyone,” said Keefe. “I did a quick check-in with him coming off the ice. It’s good to see him talking, moving around, and everything, so we’ll get him assessed and see how he is going into the next week.”
Going into tonight’s game, Leipsic was Toronto’s points leader, with 11 goals and 26 assists in 33 games. The 22-year-old had already missed a stretch due to an injury suffered when crashing into the net against Utica on December 7th.
The Marlies have three more games remaining on their Boat Show road trip. They play Rochester on Wednesday, followed by St. John’s on Friday and Saturday.