Auston Matthews will miss the first game of his career tonight when the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Minnesota Wild. Matthews was a game-time decision on Monday night against the Vegas Golden Knights, but ended up playing (and playing well). Today, coach Mike Babcock confirmed that his upper-body injury will keep him out of the match, which sparked an interesting take from former TSN radio host Matt Cauz.
Glad Leafs are resting Auston Matthews. If stars rest the odd game in the less physical NBA than why not in the NHL? Rather have a fresh Matthews in back-to-back vs. Boston.
While Matthews’ injury has been described as “soreness” by Babcock and the team doesn’t seem too concerned about it, it does raise the question about playing through injury or resting to remain healthy all year. Goaltenders are already treated this way due to the demand on their bodies, and perhaps teams should consider it more for their star players. The Maple Leafs though aren’t in the same situation as some basketball teams who decide to give their stars a night off. In the NHL, playoff spots are far from guaranteed throughout the year and any team can surprise on a given night. It’s unlikely that Matthews is sitting just to be fresh for the weekend series against Boston.
- Erik Condra and Brian Ferlin have cleared waivers and will be assigned to their respective AHL teams. Both players started the year injured, and had to clear to be sent to their minor league affiliates. Condra is headed to the Syracuse Crunch where will be welcomed back with open arms as he continues his role of team captain, while Ferlin will be assigned to the Bakersfield Condors to try and get his professional career back on track. The 25-year old Ferlin has been limited by injuries since leaving Cornell University for the pros, playing in just 28 games (playoffs included) over the past two seasons.
- Nikolai Kulemin has been placed on injured reserve by the New York Islanders, giving them one additional roster spot to call up a forward. Alan Quine came back from his minor league conditioning stint, but many expect Joshua Ho-Sang to get another chance with the big club. Ho-Sang has five points in five games since being sent down, and is a key part of the Islanders’ future up front. New York plays the Dallas Stars on Friday night.