The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night, but they will do so without defenceman Jake Gardiner in the line-up.
After announcing that Gardiner would be out, Babcock then commented that he will let someone else make the announcement on him.
This raises the questions as to the reason Gardiner is unable to play against the Edmonton Oilers but equally has raised concerns over the American’s long-term health.
Earlier in the season, Gardiner missed some games due to back spasms – a concerning issue for a player in such a physical sport to have. He has been in excellent form for the Leafs over the last 13 games he has played since returning from his most recent bout with the spasms.
For the season, the 28-year-old has two goals and 29 total points in 60 games, putting him on pace to reach around 40 points if he had played a full 82-game regular season – in what would’ve been his third consecutive season doing so.
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Losing a player of Gardiner’s quality will be hugely disappointing for the Leafs, especially as the ominous comments made by Babcock could indicate the problem is longer-term than his previous spell on the sidelines.
What is more concerning, however, is Gardiner’s health long-term. How will such an issue affect him down the road and will he have this issue persist later on in life?
The hope is that, if these spasms have resurfaced, then hopefully they will pass and Gardiner can return to full health in a relatively short time, but not too short that it aggravates them.
An announcement by the team may be forthcoming later on Wednesday, or this week, but for now things are very much up in the air.
What are your thoughts Leafs Nation? Are you concerned with this announcement by Babcock? Let us know in the comments below!