The Toronto Maple Leafs and their uneasy fans received good news when coach Mike Babcock said on Monday goalie Frederik Andersen‘s upper-body ailment does not appear to be a long-term injury.
Andersen departed after the first period in Buffalo on Saturday evening after he was bumped a couple of times by Sabres forwards. The Maple Leafs were behind 2-1 at the time and went on to suffer a 5-2 loss to their Queen Elizabeth Way rivals.
The suffering, however, continued all the way until Monday morning as Maple Leafs fans contemplated life without Andersen if his injury was serious.
But there was the Danish netminder working out with goalie coach Steve Briere before Toronto took to the ice for practice on Monday. Andersen then participated in the first 20 minutes of practice before leaving early for treatment on his undisclosed injury.
Andersen reported afterward that he felt fine. He said he left the game in Buffalo at the suggestion of the Maple Leafs’ medical staff and the Sabres’ team doctor. He just felt “off.”
But Andersen did not shed any light on the exact nature of his mystery injury, except to deny he suffered any concussion symptoms. He, however, would not predict how long he will be out of action.
He did miss a few weeks in September after he collided with a Denmark teammate in an Olympic qualifier, causing him to sit out the World Cup tournament and part of the Maple Leafs’ training camp.
Fly like the Eagle
The bottom line is Andersen won’t play against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Curtis McElhinney will start and Garret Sparks, who was recalled from the AHL Toronto Marlies, will serve as the backup.
The Maple Leafs begin the final two weeks of the regular season in a playoff position and with a three-point lead on the ninth-place New York Islanders. Toronto has eight games in the final 13 days.
The workhorse Andersen and his 30 wins have been a massive factor in why the Maple Leafs are in a position to lock up only their second…