Clarke MacArthur was not on the ice Monday for the Toronto Maple Leafs practice at the MasterCard Centre and it is doubtful that the forward will be available for the Leafs’ next game Tuesday night in Buffalo against the Sabres.
MacArthur suffered a lacerated pinky finger and lost a fingernail during Saturday’s 5-2 setback in New York against the Rangers. Toronto's record is now 2-3.
Leaf coach Randy Carlyle said on Monday after practice that MacArthur will accompany the team to Buffalo and probably take part in the pregame skate. But it is unlikely he’ll play.
“Again, it’s in a vulnerable spot,” Carlyle said. “You have to use it. We’re more worried about infection at this point than anything. We want it to settle down.
“Obviously it’s very painful. Anybody who’s ever had their nail removed, clawed off of your finger, it’s not a pretty sight. But in some ways it’s a blessing because usually the nail will hold the swelling. This allows the fluids I guess to drain and the swelling to drain out of there.”
Winger James van Riemsdyk took MacArthur’s place on the Leafs top line at practice, alongside Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak.
“Obviously it’s exciting,” van Riemsdyk said about the opportunity to play on the top unit. “I think we have a lot of great players in this room. You kind of have a role to play on different lines, they’re all very important. And this is a good chance to obviously play some more minutes. I’m just going to have to role with the opportunity.”
And also, perhaps, help kick start the offensive woes of Kessel, Toronto’s leading scorer from a year ago who has yet to find the back of the net through five games this year.
“I think it’s a matter for a goal scorer like him, once you get that first one off your back there the net seems like it’s a soccer net out there,” van Riemsdyk said. “It’s just a matter of popping that first one in and you get that confidence going. You’ve seen what he’s done in the past.”
After the Buffalo game, the Leafs will return to Toronto to begin a three-game home set, beginning Thursday against the Washington Capitals at the Air Canada Centre. After that the Leafs will host the Boston Bruins on Saturday and then the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.
Toronto will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak against the Sabres.