Exactly a week ago we were witness to a very disturbing looking injury to John Tavares. After being kneed by Ben Chiarot, Corey Perry’s knee caught John Tavares head on the way to the ice. This was followed by a jaw dropping scene as Tavares’ head fell back after an attempt to get up and then he was stretchered off the ice. A chilling moment, and one that certainly impacted the team, and led them to a very firm stance that Tavares would be out indefinitely and they were going to make sure his wishes and the wishes of his family were respected. All of this seemed like we’d be lucky to see him again in the fall.
Since that time, Tavares has been facetiming with his teammates, and visiting the Leafs practice facility while the rest of the team dominated Montreal for him. All signs on Tavares have been encouraging, and both the player and the team seem to be committed to making sure he’s 100% before returning.
That’s why today is certainly provided us a shock…
As much of a surprise as it is to see John Tavares back on the ice, there he is. And looking pretty comfortable. This certainly doesn’t put him in the conversation for playing tonight, or even playing next series, but it does at least point to the Tavares being at the point in his recovery where they are ready to test how he feels out there. And at the very least test his knee, which also has contributed to keeping him out of the lineup.
While I’m sure some of you who are reading this are doctors, I certainly am not. I can’t comment on the decision for Tavares, to be out there is good or not for him, but I’m willing to bet he’s probably talked to a few doctors before making this decision. I’m also willing to bet the Leafs and Tavares have a set of criteria that need to be met for his return, and since we don’t know what that is, assuming he is being rushed back probably shouldn’t be the default reaction.
Prioritizing his health and his long term happiness I hope is still the plan for Tavares and the Leafs in his decision making process, but at the same time it’s great to see that captain on the ice. Have I covered all the necessary bases with this? Can we enjoy this as good news now?
Nick Foligno also skating…
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Foligno not being part of the main group points to him not being ready for tonight, and might even be questionable for either Game 1 of round two or Game 6 of round one (depending on how optimistic you are feeling about tonight.)
The Leafs having a 3-1 series lead and strong forward depth buys Foligno a chance to get fully healthy, and it looks like they are intending to do right by him as well. Again, not a doctor, just a guy who thinks not skating with the main group is a sign that he’s not playing tonight and questionable for the next game.
I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more about both players the next time a microphone is put in front of Sheldon Keefe, but for now these can likely be taken as positive signs with two of the Leafs key forwards.