The Leafs' Core 4
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Leafs head coach confirms injury, not illness, for core player

Published February 17, 2024 at 1:42 PM

John Tavares has been going through it this season. His points totals are down, he's dealt with an illness and honestly, he looks like he's lost a step out there. The 33-year-old is in year 6 of his 7-year, $77 million deal, and at this point, he hasn't looked like an $11 million player this season. Now, he's sidelined with an injury as well.

Now, Tavares isn't solely to blame here. His point totals would no doubt be higher if linemate Tyler Bertuzzi could find the back of the net with a little more frequency. His shooting percentage is down significantly as well, so there is some poor puck luck at play for the Leafs' captain. Still, it's clear he hasn't been himself.

Things went from bad to worse today for Tavares when Sheldon Keefe announced that he will not take to the ice against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night due to injury. Keefe labelled Tavares as "day-to-day", but I wonder if this isn't something that has been nagging at the Leafs' captain for some time.

The bright side? The Leafs play well when they are shorthanded, and tonight they will take to the ice without Morgan Rielly,Mark Giordano and their captain. Expect to see Max Domi elevated to Tavares' 2nd line centre slot between Bertuzzi and Nylander. Domi's speed and playmaking ability should make them a fun line to watch tonight in Tavares' absence.

February 17   |   901 answers
Leafs head coach confirms injury, not illness, for core player

Should Tavares hand over the «C» after this season?

Yes, it's Auston's team now48854.2 %
Rielly should be captain17919.9 %
No, Tavares should keep it23426 %
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