News from the Rink: Leafs return to practice, Marner and Tavares skate
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
By Nick Barden1 year ago
After a few days off due to a league-wide shutdown (and Christmas break), the Leafs are back practicing today.
It’s the Leafs’ first practice since December 16th — a day before players started entering COVID protocol. Toronto’s game vs. Columbus on Monday night has been postponed.
Their next game will be on Wednesday night vs. Pittsburgh.
Players at practice on Boxing Day
As the Leafs continue to deal with players in COVID protocols, this is who was at practice today:
@Mitch Marner has returned after being placed on LTIR. He collided with Muzzin at practice on December 3rd and was out long-term with a shoulder injury. @John Tavares was also at practice, which means he’s out of COVID protocols.
Toronto called up @Alex Steeves, @Alex Biega, @Carl Dahlstrom, and @Filip Kral from the Marlies. @Brett Seney is also practicing after suffering a hand injury vs. Edmonton on December 14th.
@Joseph Woll and @Ian Scott are the two goaltenders at practice.
Missing from practice is @Jack Campbell, @Petr Mrazek, @Jake Muzzin, @Morgan Rielly, @Rasmus Sandin, @TJ Brodie, @Travis Dermott, @William Nylander, @Ilya Mikheyev, @Alexander Kerfoot, @David Kampf, @Wayne Simmonds, and @Jason Spezza.
Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe, and goaltending coach, Steve Briere are also absent. For today’s practice, Leafs assistant coach Manny Malhotra conducted the forwards’ session on one rink while assistant coach, Dean Chynoweth, guided practice for the defencemen on another rink.
Leafs who are skating together (or lines if you want to call them that)
As players go in and out of COVID protocols, here’s how the Leafs’ lines shaped up at practice today.
As it looks right now, Marner will return to a line with @Auston Matthews and @Michael Bunting. The three were on a line together before Marner’s injury.
With Kerfoot and Nylander out, Tavares is skating with @Nick Ritchie and @Ondrej Kase. @Pierre Engvall is with @Kyle Clifford and @Joey Anderson. @Alex Steeves and Seney are the two other players with the forward group.
Král is on the top-pairing with Liljegren at practice today, which is interesting. Dahlström is beside Holl, and Biega is the lone skater on the bottom pairing.
The lines will start to change once players return from COVID protocols. But as it stands right now, this could be the Leafs’ partial lineup vs. Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
After Sunday’s practice, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas spoke with the media. He said that Kerfoot, Simmonds, and Spezza could return to practice on Monday, if they pass their cardiac screenings.
Dubas said the Leafs could be a goalie and defenceman short for Wednesday. He also said that the Leafs aren’t looking to rush Marner back into games.
The Leafs are scheduled to play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday in Toronto at 7:30 PM ET.
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