Maple Leafs News: A William Nylander Sighting Provides Some Hope

He was noticeably absent from the Toronto Maple Leafs' disastrous 5-1 Game One loss to the Boston Bruins Saturday night, and had also been absent from the team's optional skate Saturday morning, and their full practice on Friday. But Maple Leafs fans have been given a slight reprieve, as Nylander was actually on the ice for an optional skate on Sunday. 

And while head coach Sheldon Keefe continued his vow of silence, refusing to give the media any updates on Nylander's status ("No updates on Willie" was his mantra), it was plain to see that Nylander actually took part Sunday afternoon in a skate with other Leafs who were scratched from Game One in Boston. It was the first time that he has been seen on skates since Wednesday's Game 82 regular-season finale. 

Defenseman Jake McCabe was the only one to offer up anything of substance on Nylander: "Yeah he seemed to be in good spirits today so I'm not going to speak too much on it," McCabe said. 

His status for Game Two, however, is still questionable, as no one is really in the know about just what it was that kept him out of the first game of this series.

As for any rumors going around that it may somehow have been a disciplinary thing — forget it, says insider Paul Bissonnette. 

The series opener on Saturday night was the first game that the Leafs' two-time 40-goal scorer has missed since 2016, so we have to assume it wasn't just nothing.

Game Two is Monday, so we'll know soon enough just whether 98-point Willie is ready to suit up and provide the Leafs with a much-needed boost. 

Nylander signed an eight-year, $92 million contract extension earlier this season.

Photo: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports