Photo credit:(Photo from Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff)
Liljegren making progress, Lagesson/Samsonov down with the sickness and bubbleless Marner: Leafs Practice Notes
By Shane Seney2 months ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs hit the ice on Sunday morning for practice after a disappointing 4-3 overtime defeat to the Boston Bruins. It was a successful week for the Leafs, taking five of a possible six points, and head coach Sheldon Keefe is hopeful some more practice time can help his hockey club clean things up in their own zone.
At Sunday’s practice it wasn’t a story of who or what was there, it was more so focused on what or who wasn’t there. For starters, Marner’s gone bubbleless.
After two games in his bubble, Marner practiced Sunday without the full face protection and back to the usual visor look. The Leafs winger was electric with his new mask, potting a hat-trick earlier this week against the Seattle Kraken. He was held to just one assist against the Bruins in over 22 minutes of ice time.
Marner’s bubble mask wasn’t the only thing absent from Leafs practice as both goaltender Ilya Samsonov and defenseman William Lagesson both did not attend. Martin Jones remains with the club as Samsonov is dealing with an illness which kept him off the bench against the Bruins. Hopefully a couple more days off before next week’s matchup Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators will give Samsonov enough time to regroup and become an option for the coaching staff.
William Lagesson’s absence came as a bit of a surprise. He played just over 18 minutes against the Bruins and finished the game with four hits, two blocks and posted a +1 rating. It appears he played through a bit of a bug which caught up to him Sunday and like Samsonov, missed practice with an illness.
A good site Sunday morning was seeing Timothy Liljegren skating before practice. While it wasn’t necessarily the most intense skate, it was a great sign to see the Swedish blueliner working his way back from an ankle injury. Liljegren has appeared in just 10 games this season and has recorded one assist. With four days off before the Maple Leafs hit the ice against the Senators, this could give Liljegren a chance to practice with the main group.
Liljegren remains ‘week-to-week’, however could see action sometime before the Christmas break. He’s a huge part of the Maple Leafs blue line and with the injuries to John Klingberg and Mark Giordano, he may be feeling a bit of pressure to get himself back into the lineup. According to coach Keefe, it does sound like things are progressing well for Liljegren’s return:
Worth noting the Maple Leafs don’t play again until next Thursday when they head east to Ottawa for another battle of Ontario against the Senators. With four full days of practice ahead, it’s an ideal time to add a player to the mix. There’s been of ton of speculation about the Maple Leafs being interested in adding a defenseman and this could be something to watch the next 24 hours.
For now, Marner is back to his normal look, there’s a bug going through the dressing room and Liljegren is getting closer to being an option on defense. The Maple Leafs sit 12-6-4 on the season and are currently holding the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
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