Always exciting to get a nothing imminent update, but we’ll take what we can get around these parts…
Mike Babcock says John Tavares will likely return to the #leafs lineup before Zach Hyman. Neither is expected back this weekend.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 29, 2019
So that’s a bit of news. Tavares is just passing over the two week mark now, which was considered the earliest that he’d return, the fact that he won’t be available against Philadelphia this weekend isn’t a huge shock, but it creates a sense of optimism that he could be back against Los Angeles next week. I for one welcome the end of the Jason Spezza/Freddie Gauthier third line center era.
As for Hyman, well, that seems to be a lot more up in the air. We know we’ll see Tavares before Hyman, so that’s something, but it certainly feels like Hyman isn’t going to be slotted in next week, which is too bad, because he too is greatly missed in the lineup and his return gives Toronto a fully functional death star, at least until the Leafs finally let Morgan Rielly deal with what’s bothering him and keeping him out of practice…
Morgan Rielly will play tonight vs. Caps, but is clearly dealing with issue that’s been keeping him out of practices: But as Babcock notes, “Right now he’s not feeling as great, but he’s still giving ‘er everything he’s got; that’s all we ask.”
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) October 29, 2019
Perhaps the Leafs are hoping that not playing between tonight and Saturday will give Rielly enough of a chance to heal up the rest of the way, and with the schedule being marginally more friendly after the Capitals, it might be possible he sits against the Flyers and/or Kings, but that’s just me speculating. Personally, I’d look for an opportunity to let him get better rather than pushing this.
As for the immediate future, Travis Dermott returns tonight. So that combined with Tavares being back in the near future should help bring a few us in off our ledges.