It won’t be the effects of Tom Wilson that keeps Jake Muzzin out of the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup for Saturday’s road tilt versus the Philadelphia Flyers.
Toronto will be without probably its best defender to this point in the season as Muzzin attends to personal matters, Leafs coach Mike Babcock told reporters Friday.
Muzzin took part in his first practice since exiting a loss Tuesday night versus Washington on a hard hit from Wilson, but did sport the red practice sweater typically used to designate those nursing an injury or unfit for contact.
It appears Martin Marincin will step in to replace Muzzin for the time being on the Leafs’ second pairing with Tyson Barrie, leaving the Morgan Rielly-Cody Ceci and Travis Dermott-Justin Holl partnerships intact.
Muzzin has had a sizeable impact for an otherwise underperforming Maple Leafs back line through the first four weeks of the season. He has three goals and nine points, and has shouldered more and more hard minutes while maintaining solid underlying metrics.
It goes without saying that his loss will be felt in the short term, but the fact that Muzzin has apparently avoided a more significant injury from the Wilson contact remains the more important detail.
Meanwhile, John Tavares once again practiced in his normal spot alongside Mitch Marner, offering more indication that he could soon return from his broken finger. However the club was not quite prepared to make that announcement.
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