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If You Haven’t Noticed, Auston Matthews Is In A Slump

from the CP at Sportsnet,

To help Auston Matthews through the first offensive slowdown of his early NHL career, Mike Babcock has been employing video of Sidney Crosby and Henrik Zetterberg.

The Maple Leafs head coach has professed utmost confidence in Matthews throughout a November offensive slide, noting the difficulties of handling the centre-ice position as a first-year player. Matthews stormed out of the gate with six goals and 10 points in his first six games, including a historic four-goal outing in his NHL debut. He’s since slowed, at least production-wise, with no goals and only two assists in the past nine games.

The 19-year-old is still tied for second among all NHL rookies in scoring (12 points), four points behind the early leader Patrik Laine.

Babcock has observed subtle adjustments from Matthews over the past couple weeks, specifically the Arizona native’s dramatic improvement in the faceoff circle. Matthews went 43 per cent on the draw in the opening five games, 53 per cent in the following five and 61 per cent in the last five outings.

That was an indicator of rapid adjustment from a player who was just getting his bearings in hockey's most competitive league.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: auston+matthews

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com