Reports that Auston Matthews may be out with a concussion
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Reports that Auston Matthews may be out with a concussion

The worst possible news for the Leafs heading into Game 5.

Trevor Connors

UPDATE: Longtime Leafs analyst and former FAN 590 broadcaster Howard Berger is reporting that Leafs superstar Auston Matthews may be out of tonight's Game 5 against the Boston Bruins due to concussion symptoms.

Berger deciphered head coach Sheldon Keefe's most recent update on Matthews and believes that the team is dancing around using the term 'concussion' to label Matthews' mystery injury/illness.

“For whatever reason, it’s not one of those everyday types of illnesses that sort of come and go,” Keefe said after Matthews did not appear for the third period of Game 4 on Saturday. “This one has lingered, and the effects have lingered and gotten worse when he’s on the ice asserting himself.”

So Berger reached out to a doctor to get a professional opinion. From Berger's most recent blog post for

“I know that Matthews has sustained at least two concussions during his years in the NHL,” said the sports clinician. “And, while I have no pertinent info, the fact the Leafs are calling it an ‘illness’ rather than an injury — and that the issue is complicated by physical exertion — leads me to think he may have taken another shot to the head. Of course, the NHL has strict concussion protocol and the Leafs would be obligated to keep Matthews out of the line–up if he’s experiencing any effects of post–concussion syndrome. I’m sort of debunking my own argument, but no one tells the truth in the playoffs. So we are left to speculate. And, I’m comfortable with the head–shot hypothesis.” Others have suggested Matthews incurred food poisoning. “Were that the case, he’d be very sick for a brief time,” said the doctor. “Food poisoning doesn’t ‘linger’. Neither is it exacerbated by physical activity.

“You find yourself bent over a toilet until it passes.”

What about the flu, doc? “That’s another possibility, but influenza is very contagious and would likely be going through the dressing room. The Leafs haven’t said anything about other players being ill. So, I kind of doubt it.”

COVID–19? “Matthews would be on his back in bed, not on the bench for a Stanley Cup playoff game.”

We'll know wait for today's gameday media availability to see if there's an update in Matthews status from the team.

Standby, and in the meantime read our earlier report on this subject, down below.

The Toronto Maple Leafs may have a major problem on their hands.

Earlier this morning I touched on the concerning absence of Auston Matthews during the team's morning skate, and now there is one additional detail that would appear to indicate the Maple Leafs are, at the very least, preparing for the possibility that Matthews will not play in Game 5.

One of the early signs that Matthews wouldn't be ready to go tomorrow was the Maple Leafs bumping up forward Max Domi into Matthews' spot during the morning skate. Here is how the forward lines looked on Monday morning:

Bertuzzi - Domi - Marner
Knies - Tavares - Nylander
Robertson - Holmberg - Jarnkrok
Dewar - Kampf - Reaves

A keen observation from TSN's Mark Masters however noticed something was a little different. On Friday, when Matthews was also absent from practice, the Maple Leafs had put Connor Dewar in Matthews' spot in order to keep the chemistry on the other 3 lines the same. Dewar was not used in that role on Monday, and that has led Masters to believe that the Maple Leafs are preparing for a Game 5 scenario in which Matthews won't be ready to play.

That would be nothing short of catastrophic for the Maple Leafs at the best of the times during the Stanley Cup playoffs, but it's even worse when you consider the Maple Leafs will be facing elimination in Game 5, down 3-1 in the series to a tough Boston Bruins team.

Source: Howard Berger