Defenseman John Klingberg won’t play Friday as the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Detroit Red Wings in their first Global Series Sweden game. Optimism and disappointment have become the contrasting themes surrounding his recent on-ice sessions. Despite participating in the team’s morning skate on Friday, Klingberg’s return to the lineup for the game has been thwarted by persisting discomfort.
Addressing the media in Sweden ahead of the Global Series game, Klingberg acknowledged the challenges, stating, “Didn’t feel very good out there. Very stiff, a little bit of pain. Not a lot of motion. So, we’ve got some stuff to work on here and see if I can be available for Sunday.” The defenseman, who had missed the previous game against the Calgary Flames due to an undisclosed injury, made a comeback against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, only to be met with lingering issues.
Luke Fox of Sportsnet reported Klingberg’s words on the matter, emphasizing that the injury is an ongoing concern that he has managed throughout his career. Klingberg expressed uncertainty about his availability for Sunday’s game but remained optimistic, citing the positive sign that he felt well enough to skate.
James Mirtle of The Athletic recently noted that it appears the Leafs are trying to dial back his involvement and get him fully healthy. Saying there’s a decent chance he won’t be on the team moving forward, he could be traded or placed on LTIR. “It kind of hit rock bottom here the last few weeks,” one source said.
Klingberg Trying to Stay Positive
There is a lot of negative talk surrounding Klingberg these days. As the Maple Leafs look to improve their blue line, his name is out there in trade talk, but insiders believe his contract may be untradeable. Then, when adding his injury issues to the equation, it’s got to be doubly frustrating. He likely wants to contribute and change the narrative, but he can’t get in the lineup. When he does, the injury doesn’t help production.
Despite the frustration stemming from his underwhelming performance in the 14 games played so far, marked by four assists and a minus-7 rating, Klingberg maintains a resilient spirit. Even as questions circulate about the potential of LTIR (Long Term Injured Reserve), Klingberg remains focused on his desire to be healthy and actively contributing on the ice.
The disappointment of missing a second game, especially in his native Sweden, is palpable, as Klingberg reflects on the significance of being unable to dress up and play, regardless of the location. The coming days may tell a lot about his future in Toronto.
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