TORONTO — Auston Matthews stays centered on being prepared for the Toronto Maple Leafs once they play the Montreal Canadiens of their regular-season opener Oct. 13.
“I’m simply taking it daily and nonetheless form of planning and hoping for that first sport,” Matthews stated Monday. “I really feel fairly good. I feel every day has progressed fairly effectively. In the final couple weeks, I’ve been capable of flip it up a pair notches and deal with the puck and shoot and simply really feel extra comfy. Taking reps with the fellows is an effective signal for me.”
The heart, who had wrist surgical procedure Aug. 13, was much less committal on whether or not he would get into any of Toronto’s remaining three preseason video games, towards the Ottawa Senators on Monday (7 p.m. ET; SN), the Canadiens on Tuesday, and Ottawa once more Saturday.
“I feel there can be a whole lot of worth in numerous features of it however I’m actually not too certain,” Matthews stated. “We’ve obtained a number of video games left, so we’ll see the way it goes all through the week.”
Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe stated at this level, he isn’t certain if Matthews will probably be able to play within the preseason.
“When Auston and the medical crew deem it’s applicable for him to renew full participation and be prepared for video games, we are going to after all get him concerned,” Keefe stated. “Until then, he’s going to proceed to undergo his course of and I’ve no doubts he will probably be prepared.”
Matthews participated in some contact drills Sunday and skated Monday sporting a purple, non-contact jersey. He stated he was happy with how the wrist responded after the hour-long session.
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“I feel it was extra precautionary,” Matthews stated. “I feel the boys know to not attempt to run me by means of the boards proper now.
“Today was good stepping into the corners with guys and feeling that stress and different our bodies on you within the nook and dealing by means of it. Everything felt fairly stable, so I used to be fairly pleased with it. I used to be actually itching to get again and take a look at it a bit of bit leaping into some drills and feeling it out. Today was a superb step partaking within the full observe. It felt good.”
Matthews performed by means of the wrist harm for many of final season, when he led the NHL with 41 targets in 52 video games. He stated continues to be coping with slight ache that happens sometimes throughout drills, however that it’s extra to do with working by means of the method of getting back from surgical procedure.
“It’s nearly constructing again power to the place it felt once I was one hundred pc wholesome,” Matthews stated. “It’s undoubtedly getting there. It simply takes time however I’m blissful the place it is gone. It’s not fairly the place I need it to be, however I like the place it’s progressing and the place it is going. I can solely management what I can management so far as this entire course of has gone, so it has been going effectively and I’m blissful the place I’m at. I’m simply going to maintain pushing and hope for one of the best right here.”
Matthews can also be trying to create a rapport with left wing Nick Ritchie, his new linemate with proper wing Mitchell Marner. Zach Hyman skated with Matthews and Marner earlier than signing a seven-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers as an unrestricted free agent July 28.
Ritchie signed a two-year contract with the Maple Leafs on July 31.
“It’s been good within the couple drills we have had collectively,” Matthews stated. “He’s clearly a very huge boy (6-foot-2, 230 kilos) however he could make performs. It’s actually spectacular, forehand, backhand with guys on him, he is such a giant physique and it is arduous to take the puck away from him and he is obtained nice imaginative and prescient. So far it has been fairly good and we simply to proceed to construct that chemistry and get extra reps collectively.”