Maple Leafs Officially Announce Two Big Changes To Lineup

We saw this one coming a mile away, but Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe isn't letting the narrative go the way it's been trending. In addition to announcing that defenseman Jake McCabe will be back in the lineup tonight after missing several games, he's also made it official that John Klingberg is out — but not for the reasons that every observer has seen plain as day:

Keefe says the beleaguered Klingberg, who's a minus-8 through 12 games, is out due to something "injury-related." He's "working through some things,” insists Keefe.

Thursday morning's practice saw Klingberg working as the 7th defenseman, and the word started spreading quickly that his poor defensive play has cost him his spot in the lineup. But Keefe wants to quiet the talk, as he even said a couple of days earlier "we need to protect him", whatever that means. 

Klingberg was absent from the team's optional skate Friday morning.

The 31-year-old signed a one-year, $4M free agent deal with the Leafs this past summer, but his play has underwhelmed, to say the least. Could it really be due to some kind of injury? 

That's Sheldon Keefe's line for now, and he's sticking with it. 

Photo: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports