Maple Leafs’ Tavares, Marner reunite on top line with Matthews out vs. Oilers – Sportsnet.ca
The showdown between the hockey’s most dangerous goal-scorer and its most prolific point-getter has been put on hold until Monday, at the earliest.
Auston Matthews, who leads the NHL with 18 goals, will be sidelined with a nagging wrist injury Saturday in Edmonton as the Toronto Maple Leafs visit Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers.
Matthews aggravated his wrist during Wednesday’s overtime victory over the Calgary Flames when he crashed hands-first into the boards. Matthews completed the game, gathering a pair of assists, but coach Sheldon Keefe shielded his top centre from taking faceoffs.
Listed as day-to-day, Matthews missed the team’s full practice Friday and skated with the reserves Saturday morning at Rogers Arena:
“He’s played through some stuff here all year long, and he’s been a complete stud,” Joe Thornton said.
Toronto (15-4-2) has already missed 55 man-games due to injuries this season, and this will mark Matthews’ second absence against the red-hot Oilers, who carry a five-game win streak into the night.
The Leafs will welcome back a trio of healthy players to their lineup, however.
Shutdown defenceman Jake Muzzin (fractured face bone) will don a full cage, and veteran Joe Thornton (lower body) jumps back into the top six.
Beloved backup goalie Jack Campbell (2-0-0) gets his first start since suffering a leg injury on Jan. 24.
“He’s amazing. He was watching some tape [on the plane], and I was laughing because on every clip he makes the save and he tapped someone that’s closest to him,” Justin Holl said, with a smile. “Like, it doesn’t even matter. It could be me, and I didn’t even do anything on the play.”
Matthews’ injury paves the way for a John Tavares–Mitch Marner reunion on the front line.
“We’ve already played a game this season without Auston against the Oilers. Putting John and Mitch together, they’ve got a long history of playing together, and having Joe available today will give our whole group a boost,” coach Sheldon Keefe said.
Tavares enjoyed his most productive season, 2018-19, with Marner on his wing, and the elite playmaker will try to help the captain out of an offensive funk that has seen Tavares score one goal in his past 10 outings.
Thornton skated alongside that duo Friday, staying on the ice to take extra reps with Tavares.
“He just wants the puck all the time, and I think that’s a good sign,” Thornton said of his fellow No. 1 draft pick.
“He always wants to distribute and handle the puck, and he’s not afraid of the puck coming to him so I like that. And, off the ice, a real good guy, an easy guy to talk to. And when he opens up, he’s a surprising guy. It’s nice.”
The Maple Leafs assigned Kenny Agostino and Timothy Liljegren to their taxi squad for this five-game western road trip, while newly acquired forward Alex Galchenyuk and defenceman Martin Marincin have been loaned to the AHL Marlies.
Liljegren, 21, has impressed early this season, putting up six points through eight games with the Marlies.
“Regardless of his start,” coach Sheldon Keefe notes, “he’s someone we’ve wanted to get some games.”
Saturday’s projected lines:
Canada’s win over Honduras just another step in Herdman’s master plan – Sportsnet.ca
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Canada’s 2018 world junior players ineligible for 2023 world championship amid investigation, Hockey Canada says
No players from Canada’s 2018 world junior team will participate for Team Canada at the 2023 IIHF Men’s World Hockey Championship, Hockey Canada confirmed in a statement to The Athletic.
“Earlier this year, Hockey Canada made a decision that until the investigation and adjudicative process of the alleged incident in 2018 are complete, no players from the 2018 National Junior Team will be considered for participation for Team Canada,” Hockey Canada said in the statement. “This has been communicated to the management group for Team Canada at the 2023 IIHF Men’s World Championship.”
TSN first reported the news. The 2023 world championship will take place May 12-28 and be co-hosted by Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia.
Hockey Canada’s statement comes after the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage passed a motion Monday directing Hockey Canada to hand over the final report the governing body received from law firm Henein Hutchison Robitaille’s investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a woman in a hotel room by members of the 2018 world junior team.
The allegations of sexual assault were made public in a 2022 lawsuit that Hockey Canada settled. In the complaint, filed last April in Ontario Superior Court, the woman alleged that she was assaulted by eight players in a London, Ont., hotel room on June 19, 2018, following a Hockey Canada Foundation event. Members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team were among those accused of assault in the lawsuit.
London police investigators said in a filing to the Ontario Court of Justice last October that they have reasonable grounds to believe that five members of Canada’s 2018 world junior hockey team sexually assaulted a woman in a hotel room, The Athletic reported in December. The evidence has not been tested in court and no charges have been laid.
Hockey Canada has been under intense scrutiny since May 2022 when the allegations of sexual assault were made public in the lawsuit. Police in London, Ont., and Hockey Canada have since reopened their investigations into the incident. The NHL is conducting an investigation as well.
In the wake of Hockey Canada’s scrutiny, CEO Scott Smith left the governing body and the entire board of directors stepped down in October. The federation elected a new board of directors in December. The board will serve a special one-year term focused on “making the changes necessary to improve the governance at Hockey Canada,” the federation said at the time of the board’s election.
Bianca Andreescu says she’s waiting on test results after injuring leg during Miami Open
Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu provided an injury update of sorts on Tuesday, saying she’s still waiting on official test results after injuring her lower left leg at the Miami Open.
Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., was hurt Monday night in the second set of her fourth-round match against Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova.
The 22-year-old was moving across the baseline when she fell to the hardcourt and clutched her lower leg in pain. She was wheeled off the court a short time later.
Andreescu provided an update on Tuesday via social media.
“Woke up with a brace on my foot anyone know what happened? On a serious note tho that was the worst pain I’ve ever felt praying for nothing serious. Still waiting on official results. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and kind words, doesn’t go unnoticed,” she said in a Twitter post, complete with a pray emoji.
Andreescu, who won the U.S. Open in 2019, holds the No. 31 position in the world rankings.
Her agent, Charlotte Lawler, said via e-mail that Andreescu met with her doctor Tuesday afternoon. Lawler said a statement would be released once injury specifics were available.
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