The Toronto Maple Leafs may have lost one of their grittier forwards for the foreseeable future.
Although the Leafs have yet to release an update on the status of veteran forward Wayne Simmonds, National Hockey League insider Elliotte Friedman is now reporting that he has heard Simmonds will be out longer term.
"Not liking what I’m hearing on Wayne Simmonds. Could be six weeks...just brutal, was having such a strong season in return home," wrote Friedman on Sunday.
Missing a month and a half is a huge hit at the best of times, but in this condensed NHL season it will be significantly worse. Not only does each individual game missed mean more due to there being fewer games on the schedule, but more games will be played over that span of time than you would expect to see in a normal NHL season.
Simmonds was having a solid start to the season for the Leafs, dropping the gloves in key moments and also managing to produce offensively. Through his first 12 games Simmonds had 5 goals and no assists, two of which came Saturday night against the Canucks.
We don't have any more details regarding the nature of his injury, but based on what we saw last night I think it is safe to suggest that the injury is to his hand or thumb. Simmonds was struck in the hand by a clearing attempt from Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler, and was immediately favoring his hand after the fact.
Simmonds could be seen on the Leafs bench pointing to the area around his thumb and his palm when discussing the injury with the trainer, and the training staff also applied some type of freezing or numbing spray to that area of his hand as well on camera. Again this is only conjecture at this point, but I would guess that this is where the injury occurred.
The Leafs will play the Vancouver Canucks again in short order with their next game scheduled for Monday at 7 pm est so I suspect that an official update on Simmonds should be coming shortly, either later today or at some point during Sheldon Keefe's media availability on Monday.