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Johansson Set to Return

Dec 22, 2017
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The New Jersey Devils announced today that off-season acquisition Marcus Johansson has been cleared to play and has been activated from IR. Johansson is set to return to the lineup tonight against the New York Rangers. Johansson is a nice piece to have back, but the Devils have gotten along fine without him, somehow still blazing through the 2017-18 season making a case for the top team in the Metropolitan Division.

Johansson, 27, was acquired from the division rival Washington Capitals this summer for second-round and third-round picks in the 2018 NHL Draft. More of a cap dump by Washington than a fair deal, Johansson was nevertheless expected to help turn things around in New Jersey this season. While that goal has certainly been accomplished, and far beyond expectations in terms of both time and ability, it has been done largely without Johansson. A slew of injuries – lower-body, concussion, bruised ankle – has limited Johansson to just 15 games with his new team. However, his return will still be a boost to the red-hot Devils. A five-time 40+ point scorer coming off a career-high 58-point campaign, the Swedish forward’s offensive talent is undeniable.

When Johansson was traded by the Capitals, I felt it was a huge loss for the Caps.  Johansson isn’t anything special, but he was one of those players that did a ton for his team.  We’ll see, if he can stay healthy long enough, if that untouchable came along with him to the New Jersey Devils.  Even with his missed games, I would pin him down for about 16 goals by season’s end, and that, to me, is the threshold for an ideal “secondary scoring” winger.  He will likely slot right onto the second powerplay unit and begin producing before too long.  Good news for New Jersey, to be sure!!

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Matthews Returning from Concussion?

Dec 22, 2017
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The Male Leafs Auston Matthews admitted to reporters today that he had experienced “regular concussion symptoms” while he was held out of the lineup recently, confirming the suspected injury. Matthews collided with teammate Morgan Rielly late in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this month, but actually returned to finish the match. He’s been out since with an “upper-body injury” but was back on the ice with teammates Auston Matthews admitted to reporters today that he had experienced “regular concussion symptoms” while he was held out of the lineup recently, confirming the suspected injury.

Matthews collided with teammate Morgan Rielly late in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this month, but actually returned to finish the match. He’s been out since with an “upper-body injury” but was back on the ice with teammates for today’s Toronto Maple Leafs practice.ammates for today’s Toronto Maple Leafs practice.

“Just normal concussion symptoms I guess, don’t need to go any farther than that,” Matthews said. “I think just later on after the Pittsburgh [game], just colliding with Morgan, later on that night and into the next day I wasn’t feeling very well, went through all the return to play [tests] and all the protocols and everything and obviously they take it pretty seriously. They deemed me obviously out, so I went through all that stuff and I feel great now.”

NOT INSIDERS TAKE:  The Leafs record without Matthews in the past six games was 2-4-0, and despite a hot streak by the third line of Tyler Bozak, James vanRiemsdyk and Mitch Marner, Mattews retains his team lead in scoring.

The idea of whether or not to play Matthews on Saturday is one that has to be made carefully.  The anguish it must be for Mike Babcock to watch his prize weapon sit idly by as his team struggles without him.  Personally, I think leaving it up to the player and coach should be limited to the question of whether or not to get a medical clearance.  In this case, it would be timely to sit him, as SAturday’s game is followed by the Christmas break and the Leafs will have three days off for the injury to be “beyond” healed up.

 
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