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Eastern Conference

Leafs’ Auston Matthews Practices With Team, Still No Timetable

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The Toronto Maple Leafs saw a positive step in the recovery of Auston Matthews as he practiced with the team on Wednesday for the 1st time since injuring his shoulder on February 22nd.

“I don’t know what they (the medical staff) will do,” Toronto head coach Mike Babcock said (h/t NHL.com). “I just noticed he was wearing red today; we don’t have a whole lot of red in our uniform.”

There is currently no timetable for his return.

Matthews skated wearing a red non-contact jersey on his own prior to joining the first 20 minutes of the main session Wednesday but did not participate in line rushes or special-teams drills and departed after 20 minutes.

“He’s working hard on his conditioning and the big thing about this injury, you have your legs,” Babcock said of Matthews on Saturday.

“When you come back from the previous injury, you don’t have any legs because you didn’t do anything so I think jumping right in and being ready to go when it’s time to come back will be positive for him. He won’t have to get his conditioning back; he’ll have it back already.”

The Maple Leafs are 7-6-2 in the 15 games that Matthews has missed and 1-2-2 in the five games he’s missed since the February 22nd game.

“I think it’s good for him mentally instead of just hanging out by yourself,” Babcock said.

“We were gone for 10 days and these are his buddies so who do you hang out in Toronto with? I think the priority for him obviously is to do as much as he can each day and then when he’s ready or over-ready, we’ll get him back in the lineup.”

Eastern Conference

Lightning Shopping Slater Koekkoek

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are shopping defenseman, and former first round pick, Slater Koekkoek, according to SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Tampa Bay is now motivated to trade away their once prized prospect, who is currently playing with the Syracuse Crunch on a conditioning stint.

Koekkoek is waiver eligible and will become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in the summer of 2019.

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Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky Will Not Dress Due To Team Incident

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The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that veteran goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will not dress for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators due to what is being described as an “incident”.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen stated the following:

“There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture. An incident occurred in which Sergei failed to meet those expectations and values, so we made the decision that he would not be with the team for tonight’s game. This is an internal matter and we will have no further comment at this time.”

In corresponding moves, the Blue Jackets has recalled Jean-Francois Berube, and placed both Brandon Dubinsky and Markus Hannikainen on injured reserve.

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Eastern Conference

Leafs’ Frederik Andersen Targeting Saturday Return

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Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltender Frederik Andersen said that he is eyeing the team’s upcoming game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday to make his return to the ice.

Andersen was placed on injured reserve on January 3rd, retroactive to December 23rd, and hasn’t played since December 22nd.

Despite his goal of a Saturday return, Maple Leafs’ head coach Mike Babcock is looking towards Monday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche as the best time for his return.

Babcock pours a little cold water on Andersen’s reveal, saying it might be Monday vs. Colorado. Hmmm…— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) January 9, 2019

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