Auston Matthews set to return against the Rangers


Matthews confirmed the nature of his latest injury Friday after participating in his first practice in two weeks.

The Leafs have failed to score more than twice in five of the six games Matthews missed while recovering form his concussion, the club's 8-1 romp over Carolina Tuesday being the exception.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews has not played since December 9, due to what has been deemed to be, in true National Hockey League fashion, an "upper body injury".

While the return of Matthews is cause for celebration, Maple Leafs fans and bettors have to be just as thrilled to see forward Mitch Marner break out of his deep freeze. If he plays, as expected, Matthews will be back with his usual linemates, left winger Zach Hyman and right winger William Nylander.

"I didn't know he had a concussion", Babcock said at the time in response to a question about whether Matthews went through the NHL's mandatory concussion protocol following a suspected head injury.

Auston Matthews had a concussion.


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Babcock argues that has more to do with a lack of energy and work ethic than talent. "Does that have anything to do with it?"

However, Matthews said on Friday he did not feel any symptoms until well after the game, and once he did the Leafs followed the NHL's procedure for head injuries.

Matthews did stay in the game after he ran into Rielly, which is unusual. Just that he was 'suffering concussion symptoms.' I'm not sure there is a difference, but if there isn't, why make the distinction?

"He's someone who can change the game at any moment", Rangers defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk said. Expect Kevin Hayes' line to match up against Matthews, and Ryan McDonagh and Nick Holden to be the Rangers' shutdown pair.

"Some guys on the team have had them, and they shared their experience, but everybody's is different", Matthews said. Then they will hit the road for three games starting December 28 against the Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights. "Stuff like that happens, and you've got to deal with it".