After defensemen Carl Dahlstrom and Jordie Benn fell during Wednesday’s exhibition game, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be without the two men for a significant amount of time.
Accordingly, the first will be absent from activities for around six months because he will undergo shoulder surgery, confirmed head coach Sheldon Keefe, as reported by the NHL.com site. Late in the opening frame of a 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens, he took a hit off the boards from Rem Pitlick and didn’t return.
“There’s never a good time for news like this, but it’s especially hard to accept after a summer of training to prepare to fight for a position. Also, it’s a blow to our depths and it’s not comfortable to watch,” the Leafs pilot admitted.
For his part, Benn is suffering from a groin injury and will miss three game weeks. He also left the ice in the first third of the last game, which he started in a duo completed by Morgan Rielly.
Last resort solutions
Facing the Habs, Keefe had to call out two attackers, Alexander Kerfoot and Calle Jarnkrok, to play on the blue line. He was obviously looking for solutions and even mentioned the possibility of using Mitchell Marner at the back in certain situations, particularly those where a goal is required.
“We don’t want this situation to repeat itself, but players are becoming more and more versatile. More often than ever, the attackers are required to cover the backs of the defenders,” the coach tried to justify on Thursday.
The Ontario organization is also keeping their fingers crossed for Jake Muzzin to recover from the back pain that has plagued him for the past few weeks. Despite this, his condition improves and he trains with his teammates.
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