The original Maple Leafs training camp roster included Mac Hollowell, but he was cut before it began, and replaced by Nic Petan, who had been declared fit to play after some sort of training injury.
Then on day one of practice on Monday, Timothy Liljegren was absent, and in accordance with the NHL’s new rules, the only thing Sheldon Keefe was allowed to say was he was unfit to play.
Today, he’s out, and Hollowell is back in.
Defenceman Mac Hollowell has replaced defenceman Timothy Liljegren on the Phase 3 Return to Play roster.#LeafsForever— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 14, 2020
Does any of this matter to the Leafs final playoff roster? Not likely, but the NHL’s rules, detailed in a brief release, try to curb speculation about which players have tested positive for COVID-19, and instead they’ve amped it up to the point where every single “unfit to play” is first assumed to be anything but an injury.
Update on injury reporting for 2020 Return to Play. pic.twitter.com/d1lmNMMTbH— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 11, 2020
Also on Monday, the NHL issued their weekly report of positive tests:
NHL statement on COVID-19 testing results: pic.twitter.com/lAkEQJ0B8N— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 13, 2020
Those tests occurred in Phase 2 only, and don’t include the intake testing of arrivals to training camp who were not in Phase 2. All we know is that the number rose by seven from the previous report of 23.
When we know how many Phase 3 tests have come back positive, presumably Monday, everyone can look over the list of “unfit to play” players and make assumptions.
Liljegren could be sick with COVID-19, he could be an asymptomatic positive, he could have a blister that won’t go away, the ‘flu, a cold, a broken ankle, a serious knee injury or he might have shown up actually not fit.
Once play begins and serious on-ice incidents and mysterious absences are all tagged with “unfit to play”, the guessing game will get even more feverish. Place your bets on the first player to become the subject of sourced reporting like Auston Matthews was during Phase 2, because that, like the speculation, is inevitable. And place your bets on all of them to be the subject of internet rumours.