The Leafs flew to Vegas and put in a light day of practice work. Light day of work, means light news as well, but here’s what we’ve got…
No Matthews or Campbell seem like a reason for panic, but in reality we’re just looking at maintenance days as both had a busy Saturday night. Campbell is heading into a back to back situation, and it will be interesting to see if Mrazek gets the first game of it to let Campbell have a bit more rest to head into a very well spaced out four remaining games of the trip where he could potentially start them all.
It’s nice to give Campbell his birthday off, and I’m sure the Leafs will be taking him to the Red Lobster on the strip tonight.
Ondrej Kase still isn’t ready to return to the Leafs lineup, and that’s fine. A little caution here doesn’t hurt, but with Kase along on the trip, and skating before practice there’s certainly hope that he could possibly be ready after the back to backs in Vegas and Arizona.
The just get them on the ice for a while aspect of the practice is probably why we didn’t see any fresh line combinations today.
Just as a reminder that if the five day rule applies both Marner and Engvall will remain in COVID protocol until after the game against Vegas, but could presumably be eligible for Arizona.
Last night seemed to be a case of two steps forward and one step back for Ritchie. Having Nick come out and get an important goal on the powerplay addressed not only his lack of production, but showed that his gifted powerplay time could eventually pay dividends. Ritchie was also back to his hitting everyone near him style of play which probably bought him as much time as he got with the Leafs before being waived, and the physicality was a great to see for the most part, but did lead to that late game penalty that will unfortunately sit with people more than the rest of Ritchie’s game performance last night.
Ritchie is going to be a tough nut to crack for the Leafs organization, and ultimately if he spends some time with the Marlies focusing on doing the right things at a slower pace, he might be ready to come back up to the Leafs later in the year and be the player they signed him to be, albeit much more sheltered than he was initially used.
It’s nice to see the Leafs are going to make the most of this extended road trip, and if we learned one thing from All or Nothing, Willie is the guy who takes on the event planning for the Leafs. Presumably the Leafs are taking the 13th as an off day in Arizona rather than rushing on to St. Louis and some midwestern cold. Although they could be craving poorly cut bagels or pizza smothered in ketchup.
The Leafs play Tuesday against the Golden Knights, and then Wednesday against the Coyotes.