The Toronto Maple Leafs returned to the rink on Monday after a much-needed day off. For many players, the day off was needed after a hectic five games in eight days on the road, but for others, it was necessary. Auston Matthews admitted that his wrist is not 100%, and his timing is off after missing games with the injury.
In this video, NHL insider Chris Johnston explains how apparent the injury has become due to the on-ice performance and how the Leafs have been adjusting without having the league’s top goal scorer firing on all cylinders.
Matthews, how was named as an NHL Star of the Month, not to mention the first star for The Hockey Writers, still leads the league in goals. He has 18 goals despite not scoring since February 20th against the Montreal Canadiens. Not only has he not scored since returning to the line-up, but he also has not registered a point. In a game against the Calgary Flames on February 24th, he was checked into the boards by Rasmus Andersson. The replay showed the star centre grimace in pain, and later the broadcast showed Matthews getting his wrist taped. After this incident, we learned he had been dealing with a sore wrist for some time.
Keefe Adjusting Matthews’ Play
“It’s clear that it has affected his shot,” said Sheldon Keefe. “He is dealing with a couple of things. He is dealing with the mental effect that not being 100% himself has on him and the fact that he missed time. You know you miss time it affects your rhythm and throws you off a little bit.” Keefe doesn’t see the injury keeping Matthews out of the line-up again. “It’s the type of injury that will heal itself; you just got to work your way through it. Fortunate to this point that it is not the kind of thing that is going to get worse.”
Keefe says Matthews is still performing well in other aspects of the game, including passing and handling the puck. But as the head coach mentioned, the biggest challenge for Matthews may be overcoming not having one of the best wrist shots in the game – for now.
Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.