Here we are heading into Game Seven of the first round, and the Leafs will appear to be doing so without their captain, and one of their top defensemen. Welcome to Leafs Nation. Here are the updates on where they are at…
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 31, 2021
Yep, that’s John Tavares skating (although not looking completely comfortable) in advance of tonight’s Game Seven. The Leafs were quick to rule out Tavares for tonight, and that shouldn’t really be a surprise as this is the first full skate he’s participated in. Having the captain back to work with the players today was hopefully a positive for the team, and maybe, just maybe the Leafs want to play well enough to give Tavares a chance to come back during the playoffs.
"It's progress that he's on the ice with other players … He's had no setbacks" … Sheldon Keefe on John Tavares #Leafs "His recovery has been quite remarkable."
— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) May 31, 2021
Playing guess the return for Tavares is irresponsible, so we won’t, but we will say that it would be great to have him back when he’s 100%.
Muzzin out three weeks
Keefe says Jake Muzzin can't play for three weeks.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) May 31, 2021
Well, it’s entirely possible this means that Muzzin might only miss one game. On the other hand it might also mean that Muzzin is out for the entire second if the Leafs are fortunate tonight. It also means that they would be without Muzzin for part of the Conference Finals if we’re really fortunate and the Leafs play up to their abilities. It really is that third round that Muzzin would be missed in the most.
While having an opportunity for Rasmus Sandin to play, this isn’t exactly how anyone wanted to see it come about, and the young defenseman will be playing an important role for the Leafs, especially tonight.
Combine these two injuries with the fact that Nick Foligno also doesn’t seem to be at 100%, and it looks like the Leafs have an uphill battle. It’s worth noting that’s not a valid excuse for them, because even with Tavares and Muzzin out, and Foligno hurt, the Habs and Jets shouldn’t be posing the threat that we’ve seen from Montreal so far.
Fingers crossed that we get to see these players return in June and we’re not stuck waiting until October before they play for the Leafs again.