Timothy Liljegren added to the Maple Leafs COVID protocol

Another day, another COVID setback. While the Leafs have seen some players return, we are now seeing a player that has been in contact with the active roster in practice now join the Protocol list and potentially be the first of another wave of players who weren’t on the protocol heading into Christmas.

The Maple Leafs have placed defenceman Timothy Liljegren into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 29, 2021

Liljegren joins Nylander, Mikheyev, Kampf, Sandin, Mrazek, Rielly, and Muzzin in COVID protocol. So that makes for a pretty disappointing blueline come January 1st, if in fact the Leafs are still playing. We could, of course see additional returns from this list to practice today, and we’ll have those updates later.
The NHL is also trying to find ways of players returning to the lineup sooner. While it seems that the majority of US teams will be benefit from this, Canadian teams will likely need to work with their provinces to get this exception.

NEWS: #NHL has officially shortened isolation period to 5 days with a negative test – IF allowed by local health authorities.#NHL now in line with CDC guidelines, according to memo distributed to teams …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The biggest surprises (good and bad) for the Leafs this season

With the NHL currently on pause for COVID and the holidays, now’s as good of a time as ever to take a look at some of the Leafs that have surprised fans so far this season. Some people came in with low expectations and have far surpassed them, some came with high expectations and haven’t quite hit the bar they usually do, and some even had low expectations and can’t even meet that. This will mostly be based on my own expectations of the players, so there might be a player or two that you won’t agree with. I’ll go over what about them has surprised me, and whether or not we can expect that player to continue doing what they’re doing.
Pleasant Surprise: David Kampf
At the time, Kampf might have been the most underwhelming signing for the Leafs during the offseason. He didn’t produce much offense, and he had really mediocre underlying numbers that basically said he wouldn’t be much of anything on the Leafs. Did he ever prove me wrong. Not only has he been an effective player on the team, he’s been a key cog for the …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

NHL postpones Leafs vs. Canucks, Sunday game vs. Seattle

The Leafs, who have four players on the COVID protocol list will not be taking on the Vancouver Canucks tonight. They also won’t be facing the Seattle Kraken tomorrow, either.

Tomorrow’s visit to Seattle is postponed too. The only other #leafs game currently scheduled before the NHL’s holiday break is Thursday afternoon vs. St. Louis at home. https://t.co/8cPg2Q1Yiu
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) December 18, 2021

It’s been an interesting 24 hours throughout the NHL. At this moment in time, four teams have been shutdown until after Christmas — Calgary, Colorado, Florida, and Nashville.
Toronto cancelled their practice yesterday due to precautionary reasons after John Tavares and Alexander Kerfoot entered COVID protocols.
Later that night, the Leafs announced that Wayne Simmonds and Jason Spezza have also entered COVID protocols. Toronto recalled Alex Steeves and Carl Dahlstrom from the Marlies so they would have enough players to play tonight’s game.
But the game isn’t happening anymore, thankfully.
On Vancouver’s side, Tyler Myers was placed into COVID protocols today. With already four players and one of their assistant coaches, Myers is the fifth player to go on the list.
The Canucks’ game tomorrow vs. the Arizona Coyotes will …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs scrimmaging for your pleasure

In the early days of COVID one of the fun little training camp treats was the Blue and White scrimmage between two halves of the Leafs training camp roster. This year, with the return of the preseason, the idea of a Leafs on Leafs scrimmage seems a bit less compelling, but on the other hand, we’re at least guaranteed to see a Leafs win tonight.
The Blue and White game does serve a purpose, beyond letting everyone get a final look at Marlies depth before they report to their rink at the practice facility. It’s the opportunity for the Leafs to specifically take a look at some scenarios that they might not get as much exposure to in the preseason.

So, the structure of Friday’s Blue and White scrimmage will be:
– 20 minute first period, followed by a shootout
– 20 minute second period, followed by a full 3-on-3 OT
– 20 minute third period, focusing on special teams (aka, swapping power plays)
6 pm puck drop on TSN https://t.co/zhEZELGbWC
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) October 1, 2021

The idea of including a 3 on 3 OT session, and a period of trading special teams opportunities has a lot of value. It also will allow …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

So, who’s starting in place of Steven Matz?

Steven Matz tested positive for COVID. This now leaves an open start in the rotation and begs the question, who will start in the third game against the Yankees on Thursday? 

Bullpen day:
I find this highly unlikely. The Jays have 13 games in a row from the 8th of June until the 20th. To me, wasting bullpen arms that have struggled since the end of April is not a wise decision. Their designated long man and my favourite pitcher on the staff, Trent Thornton, is likely not stretched out to go more than a few innings.
This bullpen has also been incredibly shaky, especially during the past three weeks. There have been at least seven games by my count that have been lost due to the bullpen. Why expose them to further work when you have four options available in triple-A?
I think that a bullpen day is admitting defeat which shouldn’t be happening against a fellow AL East rival who is currently chasing you.
TJ Zeuch:
Following Zeuch since he was drafted in 2016 is… difficult. I do actually like Zeuch and I believe that the Blue Jays management does as well. With all that being said, his AAA …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Changes to the Leafs schedule announced

Given the rather serious COVID outbreak experienced by the Vancouver Canucks organization, it was inevitable that there were schedule changes coming for the Leafs. The initial schedule changes looked like they could have had the Leafs playing four games in five nights. Fortunately, that isn’t the case and the NHL released the revisions today.

Leafs schedule updates
TOR @ VAN – from April 17 to April 18 @ 7pm ETTOR @ VAN – from April 19 to April 20 @ 9pm ETTOR @ WPG – from April 21 to April 22 @ 7pm ETTOR @ WPG – from April 23 to May 14 @ 8pm ETTOR @ OTT on May 12 – from 7:30pm to 8pm ET https://t.co/6mMFHBWIAP
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 16, 2021

For now we’re going to assume that the TV rights remain unchanged, and Sportsnet will still have the Vancouver/Toronto game on Sunday as a national game, and all other television arrangements remain the same as well. We’ll update this if we learn any different.
The schedule also pushes back the end of the Leafs season to Friday, May 14th, from the previous end date of May 12th. Given the Leafs slide and the success of the Jets, that final game could be an important one for establishing playoff seeding.
 

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The NHL announces new measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

With roughly 90 players placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list and over 20 games postponed, the league announced on Thursday some new measures to try and slow the spread of the virus.

The @NHL announced today a series of additional COVID-19 preventative measures, which all Clubs must implement beginning with today’s games.
Details: https://t.co/U7Ywo6C8X2 pic.twitter.com/tNIiDenEg3
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 4, 2021

Along with a statement from Commissioner Gary Bettman, the new measures are as follows:
The glass behind both benches have to be removed to allow airflow to move more freely away from the benches
Players and staff are not permitted to arrive at the arena beyond 1 hour and 45 minutes before puck drop unless to receive treatment before the game and to prepare. Team meetings are to be held virtually as much as possible
Locker rooms are to be expanded which would allow the players to practice social distancing. Teams are expected to provide plans of the reconfigurations by February 10th
Air cleaners with HEPA are to be added behind the bench to improve air quality in the arena
While these are certainly improvements to the NHL’s plan to …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation