SUNRISE, Fla. – Another player is lost to a malady common to the Toronto Maple Leafs – concussion-like symptoms.
Leafs head coach Ron Wilson said Tuesday after the Leafs game-day skate in preparation for a meeting with the Florida Panthers that defenceman John-Michael Liles was placed on the injured-reserve list. Wilson did not give a date for Liles's return, saying only they are "shutting him down for a few days."
Liles was hit hard during a game last Thursday by Buffalo Sabres forward Paul Gaustad. He went to the quiet room to be examined, presumably for a concussion according to the NHL's protocol for suspected hits to the head. But Liles returned to finish the game.
The veteran defenceman did not play the next night against the New York Islanders. At that time, Leafs general manager Brian Burke and Wilson both claimed Liles had a sore neck, could have played but was rested for "precautionary" reasons.
Four days later, on Tuesday, Wilson claimed Liles was "showing some concussion-like symptoms. We will shut him down for a few days."
When he was asked if Liles did not show concussion symptoms until a few days after his injury, Wilson said, "yeah, we just wanted to make sure we don't over-diagnose somebody."
This is not the first time the Leafs have used the "concussion-like symptoms" to describe a player's injury. When goaltender James Reimer was hit on the head by Montreal Canadiens forward Brian Gionta on Oct. 22 and was out of the lineup until Dec. 3, the Leafs repeatedly (and still do) denied he had a concussion. They admitted only that Reimer had "concussion-like symptoms" even though concussion experts insist such symptoms mean you do, in fact, have a concussion.
The Leafs have six healthy defencemen to play against the Panthers and are expected to call up a spare one before their game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.
Reimer will start in goal against the Panthers. Here are the forward lines and the defence pairs for Tuesday's game:
Joffrey Lupul-Tyler Bozak-Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur-Tim Connolly-Nazem Kadri
Matt Frattin-Mikhail Grabovski-Nikolai Kulemin
Darryl Boyce-Dave Steckel-Joey Crabb
Keith Aulie-Dion Phaneuf
Jake Gardiner-Luke Schenn
Carl Gunnarsson-Cody Franson