The Toronto Maple Leafs need to turn things around coming out of the All Star break and fortunately for them it sounds like they have got a ton of help on the way back to the lineup.
According to a report from Toronto Maple Leafs beat reporter Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star, there are now 3 Maple Leafs set to return to the lineup this evening when the Leafs will face off against the Nashville Predators. Over the weekend we learned of course that both veteran defenseman Jake Muzzin and forward Trevor Moore had been called up from their conditioning stints in the American Hockey League, so it comes as no surprise to learn that both men are now expected to make their long awaited returns from injury on Monday night. In the case of Muzzin in particular, head coach Sheldon Keefe was quick to praise the veteran defenseman for both what he brings to the Leafs locker room, as well as for his willingness to accept a conditioning stint to the AHL as such a well established player in the league.
“Both in his play on the ice and in terms of his voice amongst our team,” Keefe said of Muzzin as per the Toronto Star. “In many ways, he’s the conscience of our team: speaks a lot, has a great presence, great experience. An important player for us in the back end that makes everybody else a little bit better.
“So that’s nice to see him here, and credit to him also just for having no ego, or not being concerned about anything other than just getting himself as prepared as possible for this, to just go down and spend some time with the Marlies. Talking with him, it seems like it was a very positive experience.”
The big question mark of course coming out of the All Star break was the availability of star forward Auston Matthews, but it appears as though he will be good to go as well. Matthews admitted that his wrist was still at less than 100%, however added that he expected to play in tonight's game against the Predators.
“I feel a lot better than the previous week,” Matthews said after the team’s first practice after the NHL all-star break. “So, I mean, all signs kind of point towards playing (Monday). I thought practice was a good sign.”