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Sports: Ondrej Kase is Money Well Spent by the Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs down undermanned Oilers 4-2 to send Edmonton to its 11th loss in 13 games

  Maple Leafs down undermanned Oilers 4-2 to send Edmonton to its 11th loss in 13 games TORONTO — Ilya Mikheyev scored on a third-period power play as the Toronto Maple Leafs heaped more misery on the undermanned Edmonton Oilers with a 4-2 victory on Wednesday night. John Tavares and T.J. Brodie also scored for Toronto (22-8-2). Jack Campbell made 28 saves as the Leafs improved to 20-4-1 over their past 25 games. William Nylander added two assists. Alexander Kerfoot iced it into the empty net and set up his team's opener. LeonJohn Tavares and T.J. Brodie also scored for Toronto (22-8-2). Jack Campbell made 28 saves as the Leafs improved to 20-4-1 over their past 25 games. William Nylander added two assists. Alexander Kerfoot iced it into the empty net and set up his team's opener.

  Ondrej Kase is Money Well Spent by the Maple Leafs © Provided by The Hockey News

When out of the lineup, Kase's versatility is sorely missed. With eight goals this season, the $1.25-million player has provided incredible value..

LAS VEGAS -- Ondrej Kase didn't want to talk about how he injured himself in the gym.

The Toronto Maple Leafs' forward was just happy to be back again skating with his teammates.

"I'm really excited, it was a nice practice and we'll see what's going on tomorrow." Kase said on Monday.

The speedy Czech missed the club's last two games, but his absence was most notable on Saturday in the Maple Leafs' 5-4 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

Red-hot Maple Leafs hit the road without Mitch Marner after positive COVID-19 test

  Red-hot Maple Leafs hit the road without Mitch Marner after positive COVID-19 test TORONTO — The Maple Leafs are hitting the road — and preparing to once again play in front of fans — minus one of their stars. The team announced Friday that Mitch Marner and fellow winger Pierre Engvall have been placed into the NHL's COVID-19 protocol. Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said both players were experiencing mild symptoms after testing positive as their teammates prepared to open a four-game road trip Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. "It's just the reality of the situation," Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly said following practice before the club flew to Denver. "Everybody's going through it.

Already thin on the right side with star forward Mitch Marner absent due to COVID-19 protocol. The club moved winger Alex Kerfoot to his off wing to skate alongside Auston Matthews and Michael Bunting.

Should Kase not have any setbacks from Monday's skate, it's likely he'll be back in the lineup when his club visits the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.

Officially, he's a game-time decision.


Video: Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews Feels "Fresh" and Ready to Play Against Oilers (The Hockey News)

"Certainly when he's in the lineup for us, we're a much deeper team in all regards. Another guy that we trust playing against anybody and that can play on any line," Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said of Kase. "You're always looking for guys to step up in those situations and Kase did that when Marner was out prior to Christmas. He was outstanding."

Maple Leafs' Marner and Engvall Return as 3 Others Land on COVID-19 List

  Maple Leafs' Marner and Engvall Return as 3 Others Land on COVID-19 List Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Mitch Marner and Pierre Engvall returned to practice Friday as Ondrej Kase, Justin Holl and Nick Ritchie entered COVID-19 protocol. SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Mitch Marner could have returned to action earlier in the week had the schedule allowed for it.Both he and forward Pierre Engvall, were eligible to return to the team earlier than Friday, but a compressed schedule that saw the Toronto Maple Leafs play on back-to-back nights made for a less-than-ideal situation for both forwards to re-enter the lineup earlier in the week.

Kerfoot performed well in Kase's place with a goal and two assists against his former club, but the shift in Kerfoot to the top line meant Ilya Mikheyev moved up to the second line to fill in for Kerfoot. Without Mikheyev, Pierre Engvall (on COVID-19 protocol) and Kase, the Leafs lacked a proper checking line to keep the Avalanche from coming from behind to win the game.

There's no timetable for when Marner and Engvall will rejoin the club. Both were placed in COVID-19 protocol on Jan. 7.

Kase was back on the first line with Matthews and Bunting at practice on Tuesday. The trio played as a line for the team's last two games in December before the club had to pause all activities due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Kase also skated with Matthews in November in a road game against the Buffalo Sabres.

"He works extremely hard, he hounds pucks and he's got really good playmaking abilities, has got a lot of speed and easy guy to play with," Matthews said of Kase. "There's some good chemistry there and some familiarity so hopefully with him on that right side we can kind of continue where we left off."

Maple Leafs' Matthews and Bunting Chemistry Forged by Two Very Different Paths

  Maple Leafs' Matthews and Bunting Chemistry Forged by Two Very Different Paths Auston Matthews and Michael Bunting couldn't have more opposing paths to the NHL, but their chemistry is evident. GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Auston Matthews and Michael Bunting have circled this date on their calendar and for very different reasons.Matthews, who grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, will get to play in front of family and friends when the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night.But for Bunting, this will mark the first time he's played against the team that drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Like Marner, Kase is a key cog on both special teams units for the Leafs. Kase was in the bumper spot of the team's first power-play unit, a position he occupied previously when Marner was out with a shoulder injury in December.

Kase has provided incredible value for the Leafs this season. Limited to just three games last season due to a head injury, he became an unrestricted free agent when the Boston Bruins didn't tender him a qualifying offer.

The Leafs, in search of value given how tight they were under the NHL salary cap, made a buy-low move to sign Kase on a one-year deal worth $1.25 million. To say it worked out well would be an understatement.

Despite missing some games this season, Kase's is fourth in team goals scored with eight in 28 games. Other than Michael Bunting (signed to a two-year deal with $1.9 million), Kase has been  arguably been the best dollar-for-dollar signing by the club this past summer.

"I think he's the type of player that just injects energy into your team," Jason Spezza said of Kase. Just a great attitude. Great guy. He's just been a really solid addition for us."

Diagnosed with a Concussion, Maple Leafs' Muzzin Doesn't Like to Make Excuses .
The Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman could have blamed a possible concussion as an explanation for his poor play on Saturday night. Instead, he pointed the finger at himself. NEW YORK -- Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin had to carve his way through 36 cm of snowfall to make it to the team's practice facility in Etobicoke on Monday. Although he was no different than his teammates and staff who battled the wintery conditions that forced closures of schools and highways, Muzzin also had to deal with the lingering effects of a hit he took from in Saturday's 6-5 win against the St. Louis Blues.

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