Toronto Maple Leafs: Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak Will Not Play in Final Pre-season Game Due to Injuries
Sep 24, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel (81) looks at his stick after missing a chance to score on a breakaway against the Ottawa Senators in the during the third period at the Air Canada Centre. Ottawa defeated Toronto 4-3 in an overtime shoot-out. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Phil Kessel left practice early yesterday with stiffness so it looks like the coaching staff wants to give Kessel the night off in order to be ready for the season opener against the Montreal Canadiens. It has also been reported that Cody Franson and David Clarkson will not be in the lineup because of injuries that they sustained earlier in the pre-season.
Sep 29, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle looks on in the second period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Head coach Randy Carlyle was not overly concerned about Kessel leaving practice early yesterday, so having Kessel sit tonight’s game may just be for precautionary reasons. Bozak’s injury is a bit concerning because he missed the start of training camp with injuries but hopefully it is not a major concern heading into the season.
Jonas Siegel from TSN and TSN 1050 radio tweeted the possible lineups at practice this morning:
Oct 22, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Josh Leivo (32) congratulates defenseman Dion Phaneuf (3) on his goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
It will be an important test for the forwards especially Josh Leivo, Brandon Kozun, Matt Frattin and Carter Ashton who are both on the bubble to make the team. The injury to Cody Franson provides an opportunity for Stuart Percy to try and make the team and possible replace Franson if he is unable to play against Montreal.
Sep 24, 2014; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Daniel Winnik (26) reacts after the puck bounced off the goalpost following a shot by Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Senators defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Last season the Toronto Maple Leafs were decimated by injuries down the middle and it forced Dave Nonis to bring in veteran players who are capable of filling holes in the lineup and provide more depth in the bottom six forward group. Look for Mike Santorelli, Leo Komarov, Peter Holland and Daniel Winnik to get more ice time tonight in order to give Randy Carlyle a chance to see who can step up in the absence of Bozak and Kessel.
An interesting test for the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight but hopefully Kessel and Bozak will be good to go when they host the Canadiens.