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All-Star Game

Matthews plans to play for Maple Leafs after All-Star Weekend

Center sitting out game with wrist condition, says he's honored to have been chosen

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Auston Matthews said he hopes to be in the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup when they play at the Nashville Predators on Monday.

"That's my plan, that's my goal," the center said Thursday during All-Star Game Media Day. "Hopefully it gets better. I'll go through the process and have a good practice on Sunday and go from there. But definitely my goal is to try to stay as healthy as possible and play Monday."

 

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Matthews is at the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend but won't participate in on-ice events because he's receiving acute treatment for an ongoing wrist condition. The Maple Leafs are listing him as day to day.

"I think it was just wear and tear," he said. "I can't really pinpoint the exact day, but this has been kind of going on and nagging for two or three weeks. I'm hoping this week off and these extra two or three days can kind of help it. I'm still planning on playing next week and continuing on. 

"I'm just trying to manage it with the medical team and just making sure after every game [receive] medical treatment and things like that to help it feel as best as it can. It's a process. Obviously guys play through injuries during the course of a season, some more serious than others, but this is an opportunity to heal.

"It's just one of those things that is nagging. Obviously in a game there is a lot of adrenalin going and things are going through your mind. You tend to kind of forget about it, manage it and play through it."

Matthews has not missed a game this season. With 34 goals in 49 games, he needs 16 goals in the final 33 games to become the fourth Maple Leafs player to score 50 in a season. Rick Vaive was the first in 1981-82, setting the Toronto record (54) in the first of three consecutive 50-goal seasons. Gary Leeman (51 in 1989-90) and Dave Andreychuk (53 in 1993-94) also accomplished the feat.

Matthews is on pace for 57 goals. That would be the most by a United States-born player, eclipsing the 55 scored by Jimmy Carson (1987-88, Los Angeles Kings) and Kevin Stevens (1992-93, Pittsburgh Penguins).

Though Matthews won't be taking part in any competitions, he said it was his intention to be on hand for the All-Star festivities. The 2020 NHL All-Star Skills presented by New Amsterdam Vodka will be held Friday, and the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game is Saturday at Enterprise Center.

"Obviously just being here, you want to kind of compete out there and participate," he said. "Getting a couple of extra days to heal and rest [the injury] is important, but I think it was also important for me to be here.

"It's a big honor to be selected to the All-Star Game in general, so I'm happy to be here."

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