The Toronto Maple Leafs are getting set to play the Minnesota Wild at home tonight in the Black History Month game for the team. Practice this morning saw some new line combinations, a new number for Ilya Lyubushkin, and a nice message for prospect Rodion Amirov, who we were told yesterday is in Germany getting treatment for a brain tumor.
Black History Month game
The Leafs are celebrating Black History Month tonight against the Wild. The Leafs have a playlist on YouTube in an effort to educate and inspire, and show the changes they’ve made in their organization. The team are also wearing shirts in the pregame, it’s unclear whether they’ll have warm-up jerseys as well. I hope they do.
And finally, if you don’t know what Jamaican patties are, first of all have you been living under a rock? And second of all let Mark Fraser give you the rundown below.
Tonight is the Leafs Black History Month game— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) February 24, 2022
John Tavares wearing a ‘Celebrating Black Excellence’ shirt for his morning media session pic.twitter.com/gd1sbIGgvL
Since it’s #JamaicanPattyDay, @MarkFraser02 shares a little history lesson with us— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 23, 2022
Stay tuned for the full episode of Three Course Conversation coming February 25. #LeafsForever | #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/tO5zJ9geuc
Get Well Soon, Rodion
Leafs prospect Rodion Amirov was diagnosed with a brain tumor last month and is in Germany right now getting chemotherapy and skating on his own. The Leafs sent a message of support to the young forward. We have a post on this story with all the details and how you can send a message to Rodion, too.
Leafs film message of support for Rodion Amirov before the morning skate starts pic.twitter.com/VK7bgWYB3p— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) February 24, 2022
The Leafs are going to be running a new forward lineup tonight, with Ondřej Kaše moving up to the second line alongside Tavares and Nylander. The duo has looked good in recent days, but have lacked support and energy on second chances. Hopefully Kaše can bring that.
Alex Kerfoot has moved down to the third line alongside David Kámpf and Ilya Mikheyev.
#Leafs lines:— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) February 24, 2022
The defense looks like it’s going to remain static for the time being, with Justin Holl the extra and Travis Dermott in.
Rielly - Brodie
Sandin - Lyubushkin
Dermott - Liljegren
Holl was skating with the team’s development staff this morning before practice, likely in a bid to get his game back on track. I think this can help him a lot. It also indicates to me that the Leafs are going to try and make it work with Holl as long as they can leading up to the trade deadline rather than give up when there’s still time. But if things don’t turn around, I can’t see Holl staying much longer.
Justin Holl, a healthy scratch on Tuesday, on the ice ahead of Leafs skate to do some work with the team’s development staff pic.twitter.com/n23pae73Od— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) February 24, 2022
Also on defense, Lyubushkin has changed numbers from 26 to 46; the number he originally wore in Arizona. I don’t know why he changed to 26 in the first place, but after a shaky debut, it can’t hurt to change something and hope it makes a mental difference.
In net, Petr Mrázek was in the starter’s net. Neither he nor Jack Campbell have been great in recent weeks and the Leafs seem to be trying to rotate them until one gets hot and can go on a run. Not a bad strategy in my opinion.
Mrazek has taken the starter’s net at morning skate. Stay tuned.— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) February 24, 2022
Lastly in lineup news, the Leafs brought up Kyle Clifford from the Marlies to sit as their extra forward. With Jake Muzzin on LTIR, they can afford to do that now.
I’ve seen some questions about Nick Robertson or another player from the Marlies get the call-up, but the reality is Robertson has been injured all season and Kyle Dubas has said in a recent press conference they don’t want him jumping up and down between leagues anymore. Let him play on the Marlies until he “forces their hand,” which he hasn’t done yet.
As for Josh Ho-Sang, he only returned to the Marlies roster the other day and is going to be given time before getting back into the lineup (a week or two).
The Maple Leafs have recalled forward Kyle Clifford from the Toronto Marlies (AHL)— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 24, 2022