TSN Toronto reporter Mark Masters checks daily with news and notes about the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
Mitch Marner has undergone an MRI today, but we still do not know how long the ankle injury suffered in Saturday's game will hold him.
"I texted him a few times and he said it was a little stiff," said coach Mike Babcock. "I have not spoken to anyone since.Of course, our medical team will have a better idea than me once it has had information on the MRI and that 's what it is. she will leave from there. "
Do you feel that it will be days or weeks?
"I have no idea," Babcock said. "I do not know at all what's on Mitch, so I'm not going to pretend to do it."
This is the first time the Leafs have played without Marner since February 2017, the year he has been absent five times due to a shoulder injury during his rookie season.
How will the Leafs miss the dynamic right wing?
"Many ways," said the defender Morgan Rielly. "He's on the power play, he's on the penalty, he's playing a big role in the line, obviously, so if you look at the depth chart in all areas of the game, he's up there." what it is, it's unfortunate, we have guys who have to accept more responsibilities and are willing to do it, so it's important that we take care of our business and we take care of it . "
Before the injury, Marner led all the Leafs forwards in ice time (20:22 per game) while playing in the best play units in power and penalty.
"Injuries will help us improve our team," said Babcock. "What I mean by that, guys play a lot more in a lot more situations than they would, guys have a chance and when you succeed, you gain confidence and you become a better player. "
The Leafs went 3-2-2 with the captain John Tavares with a broken finger earlier this season and only recently seemed to regain some momentum.
"We had guys all year round so next man," Babcock said, "let's go and find a way to win."
A player who seems to be online for more responsibility is Kasperi Kapanen, who replaced Marner on the right side of Trevor Moore and Tavares last night.
"He's one of the best skaters I've seen," said Rielly, "and when he's able to use his speed and direct the game in this way, it can do all he can." the difference and create room for his teammates, that this really has a big impact on the game and that I would expect it to be the same. "
"It was good," Tavares said last night. "Certainly, there is some understanding of the game from the other and we have done very well.
Kapanen started the season with Tavares and Marner, but struggled to make an impact (two assistants in seven games) while playing for the first time in his NHL team. Quick Finn has seemed more comfortable and confident since returning to the third row.
"The big problem is that he's playing in the right place," Babcock said. "You have everyone in your line-up, you put everybody in the right place, they probably have better results, I think everyone understands that you're playing with Tavares or (Auston Matthews) so it will get better and you will do more, well, it actually proved that it was not the case. "
When the Leafs went to Chicago last season (October 7, 2018), Matthews and Patrick Kane ride a show. The two scored twice and exchanged Hulk Hogan's celebrations by putting their hand in the ear.
"It was great," Matthews recalled. "I looked at him as a kid, one of my favorite players to watch, always one of my favorite players to watch … it's a night I will always remember."
"Kane and he are both in the American program," said Babcock, "and he will want to be the best American guy on the ice tonight, I guarantee you."
What does Matthews admire at Kane?
"It seems that every year he gets better and better," said the 22-year-old. "You know, no matter how the team plays, no matter who he's playing with, he just makes the best guys around him, he always produces … it's just fun to watch."
The schedule ended up occupying the Toronto goaltender, Michael Hutchinson, a favorable hand. Yes, the Leafs play several consecutive nights, but the same goes for the troubled Blackhawks, who lost the shootout at Pittsburgh on Saturday. And Hutchinson has a successful track record against the Blackhawks with a 4-1-1 record and a .961 save percentage.
"It's a fun building in which you can play, you know, right from the national anthem, it makes you a little angry and voila," said Hutchinson. "It's a team I've been successful with in the past, and I think it's just because they have such good players and it really forces you to focus and you know you're going to get a lot shots, you're going to have a good chance to score and these are the fun games to play.
"My first NHL game was in Chicago, so it was really a special moment, it's really one of my favorite ice rinks."
It's been 15 days since Hutchinson lost his last start in Montreal on October 26, making it his longest distance between games of the season.
"Yes, it's been a while," he acknowledged, "but one of the challenges of being a goalkeeper is to find success between two starts and not to get caught." away from his game in practice, because the practice is very different a game. You give these guys a few extra seconds and more free space during practice, they put it back in the mail and each time, which is not always the case in a game. So, choose little things on which to work my game over the past few days and I can not wait to go back. "
Hutchinson is 0-3-1 on the season with a .885 efficiency percentage.
"As teammates, we sometimes did a better job for him," said Rielly, "and it's important that we go out and we're ready for it tonight." I think he played very well, I think he's had a great attitude and it's time for us to play a little better in front of him. "