The Toronto Maple Leafs went from a James Reimer scare to a Phil Kessel scare at Friday’s practice.
Kessel, the leading offensive producer in the NHL with 16 points in nine games, left practice early. Leafs head coach Ron Wilson described Kessel as “banged up” from hitting the boards during Thursday’s 4-2 over the New York Rangers but expects him to play Saturday when the Pittsburgh Penguins come to the Air Canada Centre.
One Leaf who won’t play Saturday is goaltender James Reimer, although Wilson said he expects to see him start Sunday in Ottawa against the Senators. Reimer was placed on the injured reserve list retroactive to last Saturday so he is eligible to come off for Sunday’s game.
There is still confusion over the nature of Reimer’s injury. After he took an accidental hit on the head from the side in a game last Saturday, the Leafs said Reimer was suffering whiplash and his status was day-to-day.
But confusion set in Thursday when goaltender Jonas Gustavsson indicated Reimer had a concussion. This was quickly denied by Wilson and general manager Brian Burke said later the goaltender was being treated for “concussion-like symptoms”. But Burke said the doctors are sure the injury is not a concussion, although they are not 100-per-cent sure.
After the Leafs’ practice Friday, Wilson said he did not have an update on Reimer’s condition other than he expects him to play. When asked if the Leafs would get an update from the doctors later Friday, the coach said, “We may but I’m not going to share that with you.”
However, Wilson did say Reimer worked out off the ice on Friday. Ben Scrivens will be Gustavsson’s backup against the Penguins.