Frederik Andersen was back at practice for real today, but don’t get too excited. He’s not going to appear in the game tomorrow.
That game, on the road in New Jersey, should feature Michael Hutchinson as the starter. While Garret Sparks was on the ice today as well, it wasn’t at main practice. We should expect a recall of Kasimir Kaskisuo to back up again. There has never been, and likely shouldn’t be, a timeline for Sparks’ return from concussion. You can’t read much into his appearance on the ice, either, as current medical advice is to not limit activity as you recover.
Andersen might start the Boston game at home on Saturday but it sounds like the Monday home game vs the Avalanche is more likely.
Meanwhile, Zach Hyman is back where he was last seen, and the practice lines right now are:
#Leafs lines at practice:— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) January 9, 2019
The more interesting news than the swapping of William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen is the new power play structure.
Different look on the power play units at #Leafs practice:— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) January 9, 2019
PP1: Marleau, Matthews, Nylander, Johnsson and Gardiner.
PK1: Hyman, Brown, Hainsey and Zaitsev
PP1a: Kapanen, Tavares, Marner, Kadri and Rielly.
PK1a: Gauthier, Lindholm, Marincin and Holl.
Ignore the second PK unit; it’s a pickup group to go up against the power play unit that’s on the ice. It is good, however, to see Frederik Gauthier getting in even just practice time in his one area of true skill.
I consider the power play unit with Morgan Rielly on it to be number one, no matter what anyone else says. He’s lost Auston Matthews and gained Kasperi Kapanen. Meanwhile the Jake Gardiner unit looks like a plausible set-up for the first time since the return of William Nylander put everything in flux.
Babcock says he prefers having two viable power play units “and you compete to see who’s out there.”— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) January 9, 2019
He adds: “We can always change back anytime.”
Babcock’s full comments: