It’s been over two weeks since Auston Matthews last suited up for the Toronto Maple Leafs, missing the last three games before the All-Star break with a knee sprain. Matthews told reporters today that he doesn’t know when he’ll be back in the lineup but will “take it day to day” as he rejoins his team for practice.
He may not be on his earth-shattering 60-plus goal pace from last season, but he’s still an elite number-one center on one of the best teams in the NHL. With 25 goals, 28 assists, and 53 points in 47 games, Matthews is on pace to have more assists than goals for the first time in his career, which he mentioned as a personal goal some seasons back. Matthews revealed the injury was sustained in warmups before a January 25 game against the New York Rangers, which he played. He said the injury “got worse throughout the game,” calling it “kind of fluky.”
- There’s good news for Buffalo Sabres fans, who will need everything to go right for the rest of the season to maintain their position in a tight Eastern Conference playoff race. Head coach Don Granato said center Tage Thompson was “pretty much back to normal” today at practice, signaling a potential end to a brief injury absence that caused him to miss the 2023 All-Star Game last weekend. He could be ready to go on Saturday when Buffalo returns to play against the Calgary Flames. Thompson is just four goals shy of tying last season’s goal total of 38, which he set in 78 games.
- Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness issued a variety of injury updates to reporters today, but most notably said that forward Mason Appleton is on track to play Saturday. The 27-year-old played 14 games this season before sustaining a wrist injury that has cost him much of the 2022-23 campaign. Appleton was off to a strong start with six points and elevated ice time before going down with the injury. Bowness also mentioned that forward David Gustafsson and defenseman Dylan DeMelo, who are both day-to-day, aren’t ready to rejoin full practice.