Leo Komarov still hasn’t returned to the ice since suffering a jarring hit from Alex Ovechkin.
When the Toronto Maple Leafs practised Monday at MasterCard Centre, the team’s first skate since Saturday’s 6-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, Komarov was absent due to precautionary reasons.
Komarov was put through the NHL’s concussion protocol following the awkward hit from behind. The tough-checking forward, who was reacquired by the Maple Leafs this summer, has been instrumental to the team’s forward depth this season and would be hard to replace if injured.
“He didn’t feel good,” head coach Randy Carlyle told reporters after Saturday’s win. “We held him out and he’s going to be having further evaluation. He seems fine now, but they all seem to be fine.”
As for Ovechkin’s hit, Carlyle said, “I thought it was kind of ‘Oops, I hit you on purpose.’ ”
Ovechkin, who played alongside Komarov on the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow during the 2012 NHL lockout, was seen giving his former teammate a hug after the contest.
“I didn’t mean to hit him,” Ovechkin told reporters.
Komarov has four goals and 12 assists through the first 23 games of the season. Despite taking just four minutes’ worth of penalties, Komarov has delivered 99 hits — third most in the league.
With Komarov absent, Joffrey Lupul was bumped up to second line, Daniel Winnik moved to third line, and Richard Panik skated on the fourth line.
Toronto’s next game is Tuesday at Air Canada Centre versus the Dallas Stars. The Leafs’ medical staff will determine if Komarov is cleared to play.
Here is what the Leafs’ lines looked like Monday: