Toronto Maple Leafs: The Fractured Ribs of Despair

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without Joe Thornton for up to a month.

On Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets, in a game otherwise most excellent, Toronto Maple Leafs recent acquisition, and longtime NHL Legend Joe Thornton left the game with an injury. 

The coach told us in the post game presser that he’d miss a while, but it was later revealed that Joe has a broken rib (or ribs) and will miss a month.

All things considered, the news was shocking – not in the revelation, but in the specificity. The NHL is a great league for the most part, but they are absolutely pathetic when it comes to revealing player injuries.  This is annoying for gamblers, pool players, journalists, and fans in general.  There is nothing to be gained from the secrecy and much to be gained by honestly telling us what is wrong.

Therefore, it was nice top have Thornton’s injury revealed.  The injury itself though…. not so nice.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Joe Thornton’s Broken Ribs

The title is just a little fun for those of us steeped in Victorian Literature.  The actual truth about the injury is that it’s no big deal. I mean, I am sure Joe would disagree, but for the team it’s not anything to worry about.

For starters, the Leafs are all but guaranteed a playoff spot, so there’s not too much riding on the next months games.  If they completely implode, I highly doubt it’s going to be due to something that was preventable if only Thornton had of been healthy. 

Thornton was  playing fantastic to start the season.  Two point in five games might not sound that impressive, but when Thornton was on the ice, the Leafs took 74 shot-attempts and allowed only 36. That is good for a puck possession rating of 67.27 and is ridiculously high.

Unfortunately for Thornton, the team is shooting just 3% when he’s on the ice, which is masking the impact he was having on games.  Coupled with the injury, Thornton’s career with the Toronto Maple Leafs has gotten off to an unlucky start.

No worries. The Leafs are incredibly deep, and they will be able to compensate for injuries to Thornton and Robertson with relative ease.  Alex Barabanov hasn’t gotten a chance to shine, Wayne Simmonds may do better in an increased role, and the team has about a dozen nice players to choose from who all rate out better than average fourth liners.

Adam Brooks, Pierre Engvall, Nic Petan, and more wait in the wings if necessary.   It’s a bummer that Thornton is out, but you’ve got to appreciate the depth of the Toronto Maple Leafs, even if it’s a lot sooner than anyone expected to have to.