Roberto Luongo returned to the ice on Monday for the first time since injuring his shoulder, and sounded hopeful he’d be back in goal when the Panthers host the Jets three days from now.
“I would love to [play Thursday] but right now it’s too early to tell,” Luongo said, per NHL.com. “There’s been some improvement over the past 24 hours but the next two days will be key to see if I’m able to play on Thursday.
“It’s not comfortable but it has gotten better over the past 24 hours so that’s encouraging.”
Luongo was hurt during a crazy game against Toronto last week, during which backup netminder Al Montoya was also lost to a groin injury (that will sideline him for the next few weeks). The situation forced Luongo to return to the game while still smarting from a Leo Komarov shot — “it caught me in a spot at a weird angle,” he explained — and, since then, goaltending duties have been turned over to veteran Dan Ellis, who’s up from AHL San Antonio.
Ellis, 34, has fared reasonably well in his two-game stint, helping Florida gain three of a possible four points. But it’s clear the club needs Luongo (23-16-11, 2.37 GAA, .921 save percentage) back in goal, especially with the playoff chase alive and well — Florida sits just four points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
“It’s no more than day-to-day,” Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant said of Luongo’s injury. “[Thursday] is the goal and the hope but we’ll see how he gets along.”
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri missed a team meeting on Sunday morning and was sent home.
It could’ve been related to daylight savings, but interim head coach Peter Horachek wasn’t amused.
“He missed the meeting, so I sent him home. He’s available [Monday]— if I want him,” Horachek said per Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press.
Why did Kadri miss the meeting?
“Not prepared. It wasn’t the snow,” responded Horachek.
Trevor Smith took Kadri’s spot on a line with Leo Komarov and Richard Panik during practice.
The 24-year-old has 16 goals and 36 points in 64 games this season.
With the All-Star Game in the books, Leafs coach Peter Horachek revealed that Dion Phaneuf is week-to-week with an upper-body injury sustained prior to the break.
Toronto didn’t provide further details on his condition, but he reportedly aggravated an existing hand injury while fighting Carolina’s Eric Staal on Jan. 19 and then made his condition worse versus Ottawa on Jan. 21, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
If you missed the Hurricanes and Leafs’ captains spar, you can see it below:
He also fought Milan Michalek in the Ottawa game:
Toronto has endured a horrendous 3-14-0 stretch that has added fuel to the speculation that the Maple Leafs might attempt to revamp their core.
Joffrey Lupul and Peter Holland remain day-to-day, but on a more positive note Leo Komarov should be back Wednesday, per the team’s Twitter feed.
Leafs collapse seems to have come early this season
Big day in Toronto.
First, to the surprise of few, the Maple Leafs announced that Peter Horachek has been named the club’s interim head coach following yesterday’s dismissal of Randy Carlyle. Horachek, who had previous head coaching experience in Florida, will run the bench along with Steve Spott and ex-NHLer Steve Staois, who’s headed down to ice level after serving in a player development role.
Horachek’s first order of business as bench boss? Shuffling the lines ahead of tonight’s game versus Washington.
Daniel Winnik was promoted to a more prominent offensive role alongside Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel, leaving Kessel’s frequent running mates — James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak — to skate with Mike Santorelli.
Trevor Smith centered Leo Komarov and David Clarkson, while recently-recalled Sam Carrick centered the fourth line, which featured Richard Panik, Greg McKegg and Carter Ashton.
Today’s morning skate also had a few new onlookers:
In goal, Jonathan Bernier will start against the Caps tonight after James Reimer was torched for five goals in Saturday’s disappointing loss in Winnipeg.
Related: Nonis: Leafs are ‘capable,’ but also ‘movable’
The Toronto Maple Leafs took Leo Komarov off injured reserve on Wednesday, which TSN’s Jonas Siegel believes is a good sign that he could play against the Boston Bruins tonight.
Going further, the Leafs’ website projects Komarov to line up with Peter Holland and Mike Santorelli.
Komarov, 27, has been sidelined since Nov. 29, when an Alex Ovechkin hit left him with a concussion. Komarov also has more points (16) in 23 games in 2014-15 than he generated (nine) in 42 contests back in 2013-14.
Toronto’s other bit of positive news is that Jonathan Bernier’s back in net after dealing with an illness that may or may not have been the mumps.
Here’s a more detailed list of who’s in and who’s still out: