Tornto Maple Leafs exorcise demons in overtime victory over Devils

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 6: Frederik Andersen
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 6: Frederik Andersen /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs /

1) Matthews Mystery Ailment

This news sucks, let’s get that out of the way. From all accounts, it looked like a sure thing over the course of the week that he would once again be back on the ice.

Matthews skated with his teammates in practice and sounded like he’d be good to go. “Sounded like” is the key term there. Soreness sounds like the vague term of the year when upper and lower body doesn’t cut it for a coach to explain their players’ injuries.

The Matthews return was dangled over Leafs fans heads and then swiftly pulled away from them. The issue is that because “soreness” doesn’t have an estimated eta for return, it’s hard to pinpoint when the return of the centre could be.

Will it be Saturday in a big game in Montreal? Will it be sometime next week? Or will Matthews have to go on Injured Reserve for a period of time?

Hopefully, the last option doesn’t come into play, but this rings similar in a way to the situation Carey Price is in.

Both are the cornerstones of their respective teams. Both teams have been extremely vague on what their injuries are, and both should be handled with extreme caution to make sure they’re truly back to 100 percent when they return.

The only real difference is Matthews hasn’t had wild trade rumours swirling about him…..Oh wait, never mind.

I know it’s concerning to not have Matthews back in the lineup but at this point, it’s probably for the best he takes the time to be completely healthy, before he jumps back into action.

As we discussed on the most recent episode of the Tip of the Tower Podcast, Matthews plays one of the most physically demanding positions on the ice. Centres have to both be an integral piece of the offensive attack, and backcheck to help the defence.

Add to that the fact Matthews is one of the stars of the league. He’s got teams game planning around him and that will create a lot of wear and tear over the course of the season.

It was nice to see him out there against Vegas last Monday, he was clearly battling through something. He still managed to push through and play well, but do you really want to take the chance of further aggravating an injury that he hasn’t fully recovered from, for games in November?

It’s not worth it to have him rushed back.