The Toronto Maple Leafs open their 2021-22 season tomorrow night against the Montreal Canadiens, but they could be forced to do without top forward Mitch Marner.
On Tuesday as the team practiced on the ice to get ready for the Habs, Wayne Simmonds tripped up his teammate Marner, who reportedly went down hard on the ice, per TSN’s Kristen Shilton.
While he remained on the ice for a bit, he was then seen having a chat with head coach Sheldon Keefe before he left with a trainer back to the club’s dressing room.
After practice, veteran forwards Jason Spezza and John Tavares mentioned that Marner’s exit was precautionary, though no additional details were given on his availability for tomorrow night’s tilt against the Canadiens. Keefe called what Marner experienced “a glancing blow” and his absence “precautionary”, adding he’ll be evaluated Wednesday morning.
We will have to keep a close eye on this. The Maple Leafs already have to do without star forward Auston Matthews for at least the first three games of the new season. Matthews had wrist surgery Aug. 13 and the Maple Leafs announced at the time his recovery would take a minimum of six weeks.
“I just don’t feel I’m where I want to be as far as my wrist goes right now,” Matthews said after practice Monday.
On top of that, Ilya Mikheyev is expected to miss about eight weeks with a broken thumb.
Matthews could return for their fourth game, against the New York Rangers at home Oct. 18, after the Leafs play at the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and the Senators at home Saturday.
As for Marner, we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out more.