Leafs return to practice, but run out of game

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The Maple Leafs are getting help from the National Hockey League to have enough players when they return to the game scheduled for Saturday against Ottawa.

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As the 18 Leafs resumed training on Sunday after the latest COVID-19 crisis saw six games postponed, general manager Kyle Dubas and his peers studied new league guidelines on temporary roster rule changes to help restart the calendar.

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Late in the day, the league announced Wednesday’s home game against Pittsburgh as the sixth postponed game for Toronto.

The deal with the league and the players’ association is in place until the all-star break in early February to fill in the gaps once all games resume this week.

Clubs will have the option of having a similar six-man taxi team in the 2021 season, with no one doing more than 20 days. Those on the NHL roster as of December 22 or who have played in 16 of a team’s last 20 games through the 22 are not eligible for placement.

The team is also exempt from exemption. Teams may have an additional goalie when two regulars are not available, for the remainder of the regular season.

If a team cannot dress less than two goalkeepers, six defenders or 12 forwards in a match, they may be recalled as a matter of urgency, with a cap of US $ 1 million or less.

All of this would solve most of the Leafs’ problems. As one of the hardest hit COVID-19 teams, they’ve trained 11 forwards, five defenders and two goalies at the Ford Performance Center.

Captain John Tavares was the first of 14 Leafs on the protocol list to be activated and general manager Kyle Dubas has indicated that Mitch Marner will likely be kicked out of the reserve for long-term injuries due to an injury to the shoulder, due to the break in league play of more than 60 games to date.

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But Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek are still missing, leaving Joseph Woll the only starting goaltender at the moment.

Top defenders Jake Muzzin, Morgan Rielly and TJ Brodie, as well as forward William Nylander, are also absent for the time being.

Dubas expects forwards Alex Kerfoot, Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds to be cleared by Monday. Coach Sheldon Keefe and assistant Spencer Carbery are also out at the moment, with assistants Dean Chynoweth and Manny Malholtra running Sunday’s 75-minute practice, with the Leafs being the first since shutting down more than a week earlier. .

While other off-ice staff are absent indefinitely, Keefe could return to work by Tuesday.

To complicate matters for Dubas, the Marlies have 24 players and five staff in protocol, limiting who the Leafs can activate, although the farm team has launched their own return-to-play plan. The Leafs have added Muzzin to the game. protocol Sunday.

Those who trained were Tavares, Marner, Auston Matthews, Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie, Pierre Engvall, Alex Steeves, Brett Seney and Joey Anderson, defenders Justin Holl and Timothy Liljegren.

The likely taxi squads are Kyle Clifford up front, with Filip Kral, Carl Dahlstrom, Alex Biega on the blue line and Woll.

Ian Scott, who is not officially cleared from a previous AHL injury, was also in net on Sunday.

More than 10 players and staff who tested positive on the aborted road trip out west two weeks ago returned from Vancouver a day after the main group.

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“I checked everyone in the protocol and they seem to be doing well,” Dubas said. “Some had symptoms at first, whether it was night sweats, chills, sore throat, cough. One had a loss of taste. Fortunately, everything went without long term effect.

Tavares said he had a headache and body ache first and lost his taste. When he finally returned to Toronto, he isolated himself in his cabin for a few days.

“You don’t want to go into protocol, but you also know the world we’ve been living in for some time,” he said.

“I just tried to recover as quickly as possible and every day I feel better. Eight or nine days off and traveling across the country, I knew I would feel it today.

Matthews and the others continued to test as the list grew thinner.

“The second practice in Vancouver, when we started having positive results, was just waiting in your room,” he said of the uncertainty.

“Hopefully we can have a healthy roster and resume these games at some point (in February).”

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