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Robertson recalled, Marner unlikely for Thursday, and McCabe absent: Leafs Practice Notes

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Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
1 month ago
The Leafs had a rare practice at Scotiabank Arean instead of the Ford Performance Centre. And despite the different confines, there were still plenty of notable moments.
Nick Robertson was recalled this morning from the Marlies which comes nine days after he was initially sent back down. He did not play a single AHL game in the time he was away from the Leafs and should be on track to get back into the lineup at some point soon.
Interestingly, CapFriendly listed the move as an emergency recall which does not bode well for Mitch Marner’s status since he was absent from practice (more on that later). The Leafs also needed to make a corresponding move to fit Robertson into the fold as Mark Giordano appears to have been placed on LTIR. All of which is to say that more roster moves could be on the horizon if Marner is out for an extended period.
Speaking of which, Sheldon Keefe told reporters that Marner is unlikely to play in Thursday’s game against the Flyers. They will use the extended time off as a chance to assess how he is feeling heading into the game, but it is not encouraging that they are already pessimistic about him being in the lineup when they head to Philadelphia. Whatever it is in his lower body that is bothering him appears to have taken a toll on him so this is a situation to keep an eye on.
Meanwhile, Jake McCabe was absent from today’s practice with what Keefe described as a maintenance day. He has been taking quite the beating from opposing players over the past few weeks so it makes sense why the Leafs opted to give him the day to rest.
McCabe’s absence resulted in a change to the second pairing with Simon Benoit filling in for the American defenceman. Beyond that, the rest of the roster remains unchanged from the lines used on Saturday night against the Canadiens which suggests Keefe is going to use it again unless McCabe can’t go for Thursday.
It is an interesting choice given that Keefe made it well aware that he was not happy with the play of the top line in Montreal. While the rest of the roster picked up the slack to help propel them to victory, the trio of Tyler Bertuzzi, Auston Matthews, and William Nylander looked discombobulated and they did not do enough to help improve their chances of a win. It will be fascinating to see how they respond, especially with some time off between games
While a starter was not yet announced, Ilya Samsonov being listed first seems to suggest he might be in line to get the nod on Thursday. He certainly has played well enough to earn it but keep in mind that the Leafs also want to ensure Joseph Woll stays fresh. Expect a decision on who will be between the pipes to come on Wednesday.
The Leafs return from their five-day break when they head over to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers. You can catch the action on TSN4 with the puck drop scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.

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