Rielly last leaf with COVID-19, after Christmas games in doubt

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It seems extremely difficult for the Maple Leafs to reach the ice with a healthy roster for Monday’s game in Columbus – if they are playing at all.

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The club added defenseman Morgan Rielly to its COVID-19 protocol list on Thursday, the 12th player since last week.

The entire National Hockey League went on Christmas break Tuesday, two days ahead of schedule, with plans to return Boxing Day to train and retest. Leafs – Blue Jackets is one of 14 games scheduled for the 27th.

CapFriendly Depth Charts ranked the Leafs with 11 protocol cases earlier this week, tied with Detroit for second behind Calgary’s 20. It is not known how many players are now off the roster, as many teams like Toronto have closed their facilities until Sunday.

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Rielly joins other absent defenders Travis Dermott, Rasmus Sandin, TJ Brodie, forwards David Kampf, Ilya Mikheyev, John Tavares, Jason Spezza, Wayne Simmonds, Alex Kerfoot and goalkeepers Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek. Head coach Sheldon Keefe, assistant Spencer Carbery, goaltending instructor Steve Brière and four unidentified staff members are also in protocol, most of whom tested positive while the club was on a trip to the West last week where three of the four games were postponed by the rage of COVID-19 Variant Omicron.

Four Toronto games must be caught up with certainty during the league’s two-week window in February, one of them at home that was scheduled for Scotiabank Arena on Thursday night before the break. But before the Leafs can travel to Columbus, the league must lift its travel ban for games involving Canadian and American teams that was due to be reassessed this weekend. The Leafs have the Pittsburgh Penguins due in Toronto on Dec. 29. But we think the league could suspend all games until New Years Day, when it’s the Winter Classic between St. Louis and Minnesota and the Leafs have a lot more manageable date on this side of. the border at home against Ottawa.

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