Maple Leafs: John Tavares ready for a fresh start

Maple Leafs: John Tavares ready for fresh start

UPDATE DAY

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares is confident he can skate with ease and that's bad news for the Montreal Canadiens, who he faces Wednesday night.

The veteran suffered an oblique muscle injury in a preseason game against the Ottawa Senators on Sept. 24 and has been sidelined for the remainder of the exhibition schedule. However, his fitness has gone relatively well and here he is ready to help the Leafs in their quest for the first Stanley Cup since 1967.

“I feel good and I'm excited about this about. It wasn't ideal to go through this process, but the medical staff and performance managers helped me get there and were great. They deserve a lot of credit and I'm happy to be there from the start,” he said Tuesday, in words reported by NHL.com.

Indeed, Tavares was a bit ahead of the forecast and his head coach Sheldon Keefe is happy with it. It is therefore within the second line, with William Nylander and Denis Malgin, that he should start the year.

“This return certainly gives momentum and a spark to the club, said Keefe. His talent and everything he offers our group makes us more dynamic and harder to counter. He is also our captain and counting on him at the start is always good business, surely more than less. Whether it's the power play or other important aspects, everything is in place, as we had imagined. It's very good to see him again.”

In 2021-2022, the former New York Islanders tallied 76 points, including 27 goals, in 79 games.