Leafs’ Matthews another Benn victim? Red Wings Vrana healthy scratch in GR

The Detroit Red Wings beat a Toronto Maple Leafs team that was missing 20-goal scorer Auston Matthews on Thursday. Matthews missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury. Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe will only allow that it’s a lingering issue that’s been bothering the 2021-22 Hart Trophy winner for some time.

Some Toronto writers are suggesting that it could stem from a cross-check Matthews took in the back from Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn earlier this season. If so, Red Wings and Leafs fans could find themselves in the unusual position of being in lockstep when it comes to their disdain for Benn.

In was a Benn cross-check that led to the season-ending neck injury suffered by Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin in 2021.

Oddly enough, Benn’s brother, defenseman Jordie Benn, plays for the Leafs.

Vrana Sits One Out

While the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins were playing the Iowa Wild on Wednesday, Jakub Vrana wasn’t. The Red Wings forward, given assignment to GR last week after clearing NHL waivers, was a healthy scratch. The player who drew into Vrana’s spot, Kyle Criscuolo, scored a goal as the Griffins lost 5-2.

The official reason given for Vrana’s absence was the AHL veteran rule. AHL teams are only permitted to suit up five non-goalies with 320 or more NHL, AHL or elite European league games played. However, the bottom line is that if Vrana was playing well, he wouldn’t be the guy the Griffins were scratching.

Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde was opting to defer to Griffins coach Ben Simon when it came to Vrana’s healthy scratch.

“We’ll talk about everything, but when it comes to his team, it’s his team,” Lalonde said.

Red Wings In Case You Missed It

Red Wings Next Game

The woeful Columbus Blue Jackets, bottom of the NHL’s Eastern Conference at 12-27-2, visit Little Caesars Arena on Saturday (7 pm ET).

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San Jose: The San Jose Sharks are on an historically bad pace when it comes to one-goal losses.

Vegas: Mark Stone (upper body) was suffering an injury as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Florida Panthers.

Colorado: The NHL’s worst team, the Chicago Blackhawks, beat the reigning Stanley cup champion Colorado Avalanches. Is it time to panic yet?

Calgary: Rookie Walker Duehr scored his first NHL goal as the Calgary Flames beat st louis.

Islanders: Players on the New York Islanders were showing their frustration after a blown lead led to a fourth straight loss.

Washington: Is the situation between the Washington Capitals and former Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha beyond repair?

Philadelphia: Coach John Tortorella is removing all the iPads from the Philadelphia Flyers bench.

Florida: There’s plenty of family tied involving the Florida Panthers claiming Casey Fitzgerald on waivers.

Boston: Former Red Wings forward Tomas Nosek in playing through injury for the Boston Bruins.

Pittsburgh: Is the thin blue line of the Pittsburgh Penguins about to get thinner?

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