As the Leafs’ fanbase held its collective breath waiting for news on Frederik Andersen’s injury status, speculation ran pretty wild about what could have forced him from the game against the Sabres over the weekend. Initially described as an upper body ailment, there were some questions about whether he may have re-injured his shoulder or taken a hit to the head.
Based on the clips of collisions Andersen took in the opening period on Saturday night, the latter scenario seemed the most likely, especially with word coming that a Sabres team doctor requested he be pulled – likely an example of the league’s concussion protocol.
This has to be the play where Andersen was injured, no? pic.twitter.com/OoIevDQ70Z
— Mackenzie Liddell (@MackLiddell) March 26, 2017
As of now these questions still remain, but it looks like Andersen is at least healthy enough to participate in practice this morning, obviously a promising sign. According to reports, he initially took the ice for a personal session, closely monitored by the team’s medical staff, then stuck around for 20 minutes of work with the team alongside McElhinney and the recently recalled Garret Sparks. Again, you can see why speculation over a potential concussion has been out there.
Don’t often see an audience of medical staff watching player’s one-on-one session, but Andersen has several eyes on him in drills
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) March 27, 2017
Leafs Frederik Andersen is skating with the main group. Looks like the skate an hour ago gave him a positive feeling on practicing today.
— Mark Szaniawski (@m_szan) March 27, 2017
A busy morning in Toronto. With Sparks now in the fold, it’s obviously unclear if Andersen’s quick return to the ice is a sign he can play tomorrow night against the visiting Panthers. Given his limited work with the main group, that seems unlikely. If it is indeed a possible head injury that the team is monitoring, they’re obviously going to want to be cautious. And given Sparks’ strong showing with the Marlies so far this season (0.927 sv% through 26 games), throwing a game or two his way might not be the worst thing in the world.
Either way, what at first seemed like a catastrophe that would potentially derail the Leafs’ playoff hopes has now been downgraded, at least for the time being. I’m sure we’ll get a clearer picture as we get closer to gametime tomorrow night.