Maple Leafs star Allston Matthews was confirmed to be positive for COVID-19 through a rapid antigen test on Monday morning and withdrew from the team’s training for preventive reasons.
Matthews and assistant coach Dean Chynoweth also got positive results, and then each took a PCR test.
These results are expected until Tuesday morning. Toronto’s next game is scheduled for Wednesday night against the Oilers at the Scotiabank Arena.
Matthews led the National Hockey League with 41 goals in the 2020-2021 season, and currently ranks third with 20 goals in 28 games. He is only behind Leon Dreiser of Edmonton (25) and Alex Ovechkin of Washington (24).
Head coach Sheldon Keef said that neither Matthews nor Chinovis showed symptoms of the coronavirus. Matthews had previously contracted COVID-19 in June 2020.
Just last week, the club had 14 players on the NHL’s COVID-19 roster, but its last player returned to the training ground on Monday.
Secretary of Defense Timothy Liljegren was quarantined for five days after testing positive. He said he had no symptoms.
Keef, who took over as the bench after Mike Babcock was fired at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, only coached for a few months before COVID-19 began to spread in the league.
“In the NHL, my reality is more real than usual,” Keef said on Monday. “You adjust quickly and move on. This is what we have to deal with.”
The Maple Leafs played their first game in 18 days on Saturday and were out with the Senators 6-0. Ottawa had four players out of the game due to COVID-19 and announced on Monday that three other players were absent due to the virus.
The NHL subsequently cancelled the Senator match against the Krakens originally scheduled for Thursday in Seattle. This is the 92nd game postponed due to COVID-19.
“Frankly, [Saturday’s game] is a lot like the preseason,” Keefe said. “It doesn’t feel like two teams played 30 games in a season.”
Edmonton star center Connor McDavid did not participate in the skating competition on Monday morning, but is expected to face the Rangers in New York on Monday night.
If there is no Matthews in Toronto, it will require Keefe to adjust his lines again.
“This is the world we live in,” Maple Leafs forward Alex Kraft said. “We want to surpass it, but COVID-19 is still lingering.”
Defender Jake Muzzin (Jake Muzzin), another recent victim of the disease, said after practice that he did not feel any effects.
“You just need to deal with it day after day,” Muzin said. “You never know what you will meet. This is the next person, and move on.”