Leafs must prioritize health over individual accolades

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been hit with multiple injury concerns ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs. With two regular-season games remaining, Sheldon Keefe shouldn't hesitate to sit his star players, regardless of the individual accolades they might be chasing.

Video Transcript

OMAR: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of In the Mentions. I'm TikTok's Omar. And remember a couple of weeks ago where I said, hey, you know, I think it'd be solid if the Leafs can go into the playoffs as healthy as possible?

Well, it looks like the hockey gods are looking at me and saying, "Ha-ha," because literally they're getting hit with all these injuries all at once. Now Matthews has missed some time. Ondrej Kase has been out for a long time. Petr Mrazek's season is pretty much over.

Jake Muzzin, we don't know when or if he's going to return. Timothy Liljegren is nicked up a little bit. So it is a little unfortunate. But I guess it could always be worse, right? Oh, oh, Michael Bunting's injured?

- Yeah.

OMAR: Oh.

- Yeah.

OMAR: Dammit. All right, Bunting being out sucks and, especially for me, considering I'm a huge Bunting fan. And considering all of what he brings to the team, the annoyance, the tenacity, the secondary scoring, the fact that he helps unify that top line a lot. But, thankfully, we've been told that he's going to be ready for the playoffs, for round 1, at least. So that makes it a little bit better, but it definitely does seem that like any time something happens with any player on the Leafs, we are a little over angsty of it.

I mean, Mikheyev had that little mishap with Ovechkin against the Capitals. We thought his hand was a little messed up. We all freaked out, but then thankfully he was OK and actually had a pretty solid game.

But, yeah, I think the same sentiment has to continue. I mean, there's two games left. Get to the playoffs as healthy as possible. If that means giving an extra player some rest a little bit, you saw John Tavares take a break. That was great.

Even though, yes, you know, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, they have their personal accolades that they want to hit, I think the bigger picture has to be in mind. And to be honest, I think the team has that in mind now, definitely Sheldon Keefe. I mean, Matthews has been sitting at 58 goals for a while, and Keefe decided to sit him for a couple of games despite that.

I mean, there are bigger things ahead. There are more important things ahead. And I think the team and the players know that so just stop getting injured, please.

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