Tavares is back on the ice at Leafs practice

Don't look now, but the captain is back on the ice!


Don't look now but Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares is back on the ice at Scotiabank Arena, skating with teammates ahead of tonight's Game 5 showdown against the Montreal Canadiens.

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And Tavares wasn't alone either, as teammate Nick Foligno hopped on before his scheduled practice to join the captain.

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Frankly, this is a bit of a shock. Officially, Tavares is still out of the lineup indefinitely as he deals both with a knee injury and with concussion symptoms as a result of a hit from Montreal Canadiens defenceman Ben Chiarot and the subsequent horrific collision with Habs forward Corey Perry during Game 1 of the teams' best of seven opening round playoff series.

Earlier this week it was reported that Tavares is not expected to make a return this post-season and it's unclear if today's development changes that at all. There was a belief that, should the Leafs make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, then Tavares might be ready to go. But just by virtue of the fact that he's on skates and taking laps at Scotiabank Arena, his knee injury and his concussion symptoms must not be as severe as first reported. Then again, that's entirely conjecture on my part. The fact is that given the nature of knee injuries and brain injuries, that any prediction is risky. If Tavares is able to rehab aggressively over the next six weeks though, it's not out of the realm of possibility to see captain JT come riding in like a knight in shining armour come the final. Of course, the Leafs have to get there for it to matter at all. While the team looks to have a handle on the Montreal Canadiens, the Winnipeg Jets will be no easy out. The Jets' top players are firing on all cylinders and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck looks borderline unbeatable. If The Leafs are going to make a push and get their captain back this post-season, they'll have some work to do first.

First and foremost here's hoping that Tavares makes a full recovery because there was real, legitimate concern that he had suffered a catastrophic injury back in Game 1.