Leafs captain John Tavares and alternate captain Mitch Marner
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Unfortunate development coming out of the Leafs' game day practice

Published February 17, 2024 at 10:41

After taking the day on Friday to rest and relax ahead of Saturday's game against the Anaheim Ducks, the Leafs were back at practice on Saturday morning in preparation for the game. Unfortunately, there appears to be a pretty big hole in the lineup as one of the Leafs' top players was not present at practice.

Per The Hockey News' David Alter, Leafs captain John Tavares was absent for practice this morning, which could be a problem for the Leafs in their bid to extend their current winning streak to 3 games.

The Leafs have been dealing with a flu-like illness that has swept through the locker room of late and Tavares was one of the players who was struck by the illness initially, but he did play on Thursday against the Flyers, so it's unclear if perhaps the illness has remained with him and hasn't gone away entirely. The other possibility here, the less desirable one, is that perhaps Tavares suffered some sort of an injury during the 4-3 OT win against the Flyers.

It's worth noting that Tavares did not hop on the ice with William Nylander in overtime on Thursday, as he typically does. Instead, it was Nylander with Max Domi and Timothy Liljegren that put the game away, so it's certainly possible that something had occurred during the game on Thursday that has him less than 100%.

I'm sure Sheldon Keefe will update us on Tavares' status following practice, but a lengthy stint without the captain could be a problem for the Buds as they look to string together some wins and catch up with Tampa, Florida and Boston at the top of the Atlantic Division standings.

February 17   |   829 answers
Unfortunate development coming out of the Leafs' game day practice

What's the most you'd pay John Tavares on a new contract to remain in Toronto?

$7M per season or more546.5 %
$5.1M-$6.9M per season16119.4 %
$4M-$5M per season61474.1 %
I don't want him back00 %
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