Jake Gardiner

Leafs’ Gardiner (concussion) off IR, expected to make season debut tonight

The Toronto Maple Leafs have activated Jake Gardiner off injured reserve, and the 22-year-old defenseman is expected to make his season debut Wednesday night against Pittsburgh.

According to Paul Hendrick of the Maple Leafs website, Gardiner will replace Korbinian Holzer in the lineup. Holzer made his season debut in Monday’s loss to Buffalo, playing 15:09 and finishing with a minus-1 rating.

The return of Gardiner will be a boon for Toronto’s back end. The Minneapolis native finished second among all Leafs defensemen in scoring last year — his rookie year — with 7G-23A-30PTS in 75 games.

He suffered a concussion (sorry, concussion-like symptoms) in mid-December while playing for the AHL Marlies, and has been out of action ever since.

Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle had openly pined for Gardiner’s return to the lineup, mostly recently in an interview with the National Post.

“We could use his offensive and puck-carrying ability,” Carlyle said. “He’s a special player. When he tells us he’s ready, I would say we’re probably going to find a spot for him in the lineup.”

Related: Reimer likely starter for Leafs tonight in Pittsburgh

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?