The Toronto Maple Leafs are eager to finish a practice with one of the best players you could choose to start a franchise. Auston Matthews skated alongside his teammates Wednesday at the club’s practice facility for the first time in two weeks. Although the Leafs leading goal-scorer left the ice in his red, non-contact sweater after just 20 minutes of action, coach Mike Babcock sees value in gradually working his superstar back into the group’s routine. “It’s good for him, right? Just mentally, instead of hanging out by yourself. We were gone for 10 days [on a road trip], and these are his buddies. So, who do you hang out in Toronto with?” Babcock asked, rhetorically. “The priority for him is to do as much as he can each day. When he’s ready — or over-ready — we’ll get him back in the lineup.” Toronto has lost its past four games and posted a shaky 1-2-2 record since Matthews’ right shoulder was separated during an awkward double body-check against the Islanders last month.
Matthews skating, but Maple Leafs taking long view with franchise star
Sportsnet | Mar 7