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Matthews 'feeling healthy' for Maple Leafs after positive COVID-19 test

Full participant on first day of camp after asymptomatic for virus

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Auston Matthews was a full participant for the Toronto Maple Leafs in training camp Monday after he tested positive for COVID-19 last month.

Matthews said he was asymptomatic but unable to skate after the positive test.

"It didn't really hinder my training," the 22-year-old said. "I was able to do stuff at home. Obviously, I wasn't able to leave or skate or anything. That's probably the one area that took a hit for me was that I had been skating beforehand and having to take two or three weeks off the ice. That kind of catches up to you.

"For the most part felt pretty normal for the two weeks, but obviously did my quarantine and feeling healthy now, so it's all good."

Matthews spent most of his time at his offseason home in Arizona after the NHL season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. He said he couldn't pinpoint where he may have contracted the virus and admitted this camp will be different for him. 

"Obviously not as much time for certainly guys like myself, you know a couple of weeks of not being able to do much," Matthews said. "Kind of out of the norm of a typical training camp where you are kind of going in there feeling good. So it's going to be a little bit different, but obviously all these teams, everybody's kind of going through similar stuff, so we're going to have to adjust as we go and try to be in as good of shape as possible come the end of the month."

The Maple Leafs (36-25-9, .579 points percentage) are the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. They will play the No. 9 seed, the Columbus Blue Jackets (33-22-15, .579), in one of eight best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifier series, beginning Aug. 2 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The winner will advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the loser will have a 12.5 percent chance, equal to the other seven teams eliminated in the Qualifiers, at the No. 1 pick in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, which will be held Aug. 10. The 2020 NHL Draft is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 9 and 10.

"I think the NHL and everybody have tried their best with the information they have to make it as safe an environment as possible for the players and everybody working there to allow us to compete in this tournament," Matthews said.

Toronto hasn't won a playoff series since 2004 and has been eliminated in the first round in each of the past three seasons, including in seven games by the Boston Bruins in each of the past two.

Matthews scored an NHL career-high 47 goals this season, one behind co-leaders Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins. Matthews was ninth in scoring with an NHL career-high 80 points (47 goals, 33 assists) in 70 games.

The No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft has scored 285 points (158 goals, 127 assists) in 282 regular-season games and 13 points (10 goals, three assists) in 20 playoff games. Matthews has scored at least 34 goals in each of his four NHL seasons.

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