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Kasperi Kapanen Pulled From Toronto’s Lineup: Trade Speculation Swirls

Kasperi Kapanen was a late scratch from the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup on Saturday. Is he injured or is there a trade coming?

According to a breaking news report from Sportsnet’s National Hockey League insider Chris Johnston and just prior the contest between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators on Saturday, forward Kasperi Kapanen has been pulled out of the lineup. Speculation ran rampant as to why, with everything from a possible trade, to the flu or a mild undisclosed injury being an issue.

At first, injury was ruled out. Elliotte Friedman said on the Sportsnet broadcast just prior to puck drop, the Maple Leafs didn’t release any information on a potential Kapanen injury. The Maple Leafs later confirmed that report.

This of course led to trade whispers.

It was later reported by TSN that head coach Sheldon Keefe would update the player’s status following the game. That too seemed to be telling because if it was an injury, why wait to fill the team in?

After the game, Keefe said Kapanen was sitting because of an “internal accountability” issue.

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Kapanen Rumors Sure to Heat Up

Kapanen has 10 goals and 18 assists over 51 games so far this season and has been the subject of many trade rumors involving the Maple Leafs desire to improve their blue line and backup goaltending. His coming out of the lineup and because of something that be seen as a behavioral issue will certainly increase the chatter or at the very least, raise a few eyebrows.

Considering the Maple Leafs are badly trying to get to the post-season and Kapanen is a player that surely helps them when he’s in the lineup, Mark Masters report that Maple Leafs Public Relations had confirmed his scratch was not injury related and then Keefe’s comments suggested whatever it is that happened was enough to pull him. Keefe also said it won’t carry over to other games.

So now what? Does it change the likelihood of a trade? Does it make Kapanen more expendable? No doubt, everyone in Toronto will be talking about this over the next few days.

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