Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe
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Sheldon Keefe provides important updates on two of his key players

Published February 14, 2024 at 10:21

Last night, the Leafs went into their game against the St. Louis Blues dealing with a tremendous amount of adversity. Not only were they missing their top defenseman in Morgan Rielly after his 5-game suspension was announced, but they were also struck with two pretty big blows right before puck drop when it was announced that captain John Tavares and Mitch Marner were dealing with an illness and would not be able to play, leading to some late scrambles and last minute roster changes.

So, how did the Leafs respond? Surprisingly well. Not only did they skate away with a 4-1 victory at home, but they also dominated play for 60 minutes and limited the Blues to just 15 shots on goal all night, while peppering Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington with 32 shots. In fact, were it not for a handful of incredible saves from Binnington, that one could have easily been a 7-1 finish.

Bobby McMann was one of the late additions coming in as a game-time decision and the 27-year-old played the game of his life, producing 3 goals for the Leafs for his first career NHL hat trick. He also took home the game belt as Leafs MVP on the night - and rightfully so.

There was some concern, though, on Tuesday regarding the long-term status of both Marner and Tavares, as yesterday morning, it was announced that the Leafs had shut down defenseman Conor Timmins for the foreseeable future as he deals with mononucleosis. However, Sheldon Keefe spoke with the media after Tuesday's game and quickly quelled any concerns regarding whether or not Tavares and Marner were also struck with the horrible illness.

According to Keefe, Tavares and Marner are not believed to be dealing with mono, but rather a "flu-like" illness. He also revealed that not only were two of his top players ill, there were a handful of Leafs who played last night who were also under the weather.

The Leafs have dealt with two prior stints where these flu-like illnesses have swept through the locker room, costing the majority of the locker room to miss at least one game. Hopefully, as the warm weather comes back, we can say farewell to flu season and have a healthy and productive Leafs team down the home stretch and into the playoffs.

February 14   |   573 answers
Sheldon Keefe provides important updates on two of his key players

How many goals will Mitch Marner score this season?

25-3026746.6 %
31-3521737.9 %
36-408915.5 %
Over 4000 %
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