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Category: Toronto-Maple-Leafs

Mike Modano On Auston Matthews

from Chris Johnston at the Toronto Star,

The most prolific American-born scorer in NHL history has nearly three times as many goals on his resumé as Auston Matthews.

And already he’s hearing the footsteps coming out of Toronto.

“I can’t see anything stopping him from getting there,” Mike Modano said Friday night.

You still can’t call it a sure thing, not with all of the unknowns baked into every record that requires longevity. But it’s tough to look past the fact Matthews is going to reach the 200-goal milestone in 100 fewer games than it took Modano.

His next goal gets him there and it will come much faster than Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl reached that mark earlier this week, too.

It’s a reminder amid the noise of a new season of what Matthews has been building. He’s truly a unicorn. A centre that scores goals at a pace unmatched by any of his peers not named Alex Ovechkin.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Pointing Fingers In Toronto

from David Alter of The Hockey News,

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nick Ritchie was benched for the final eight minutes in the second period of the team's 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Friday. When he returned to the ice for the third period, he was replaced on the team's top unit and moved to the fourth line.

But Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe feels the criticism of the forward has been unfair. He deflected several questions about the Rtichie's benching before redirecting the blame at two of his core-four forwards.

"You should be asking as many questions about [Auston] Matthews and [Mitch] Marner as you are Ritch," Keefe said.

And he has a point.

Marner has no goals and one assist this season. If you go back to the previous campaign and include the playoffs, he has gone 13 games without lighting the lamp.

Matthews played his second game after recovering from offseason wrist surgery. Although he looked great in his season debut in a 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Monday, he didn't find the back of the net. Instead of building off that performance, he and the rest of his linemates were flat.


Below are the game highlights.

Continue Reading »

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Wearing The ‘C’ In Toronto

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

It should be more obvious than it is, shouldn’t it?

The leader of the Edmonton Oilers is Connor McDavid. Blake Wheeler is the man in Winnipeg. Alex Ovechkin has been in charge in Washington for years. Ditto for Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh and Jonathan Toews in Chicago.

Patrice Bergeron succeeded Zdeno Chara in Boston. In Vegas, it’s Mark Stone. Even in Seattle, with the expansion Kraken, Mark Giordano is clearly the leader.

In Toronto, meanwhile, the leader is … who?

Officially, it’s John Tavares, the man with the C above his heart.


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Auston Matthews Expected To Play Monday Night

from Kristen Shilton of TSN,

Auston Matthews waited until he was ready. Finally, that time has come.

The Maple Leafs’ star anticipates making his season debut on Monday, when Toronto hosts the New York Rangers. It’s been a long road for Matthews, from offseason wrist surgery on Aug. 13 to admitting he hadn’t reached his goal of being 100 per cent healthy by the Leafs’ opener last Wednesday.

Sitting out the Leafs’ first three games wasn’t an easy choice, but it’s one Matthews knows can pay off.

“It's been good to just stay patient and make sure I'm feeling fully confident, which [after] taking a little bit of extra time I absolutely do,” Matthews said after the Leafs’ practice on Sunday. “I'm pumped. It’s been not a lot of fun watching. I've been itching to get back in.”


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Another ebug Could Play In Toronto Tonight

from David Alter of The Hockey News,

The salary cap was always going to be an issue this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs and it has now created a rare scenario.

With an injury to one of their goaltenders and other players unavailable on a short-term basis, the team was forced to sign an amateur goaltender to dress as their backup against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.

Alex Bishop, a third-year University of Toronto goaltender from Richmond Hill will put on the Toronto Maple Leafs sweater.

"It just comes down to that the flat cap has created some situations that are difficult to manage even [more] than they were a year ago," Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said.


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Morning Line- Justin Bourne

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Who Starts In Goal For The Toronto Maple Leafs?

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

It’s a mystery to many how the Maple Leafs will create a battle for the crease in this training time when the principal combatants are such happy campers.

Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek are unfailingly polite in social settings, in their media encounters and to each other. But now it’s time to cue the Odd Couple theme, as they can’t share the same net on game night.

“Between Petr and Jack, we have two guys who are confident, comfortable and easy going, yet serious and competitive,” coach Sheldon Keefe stated Wednesday, before Mrazek and the starters for the game group on Ottawa departed.

Mrazek has teased Campbell about their head-to-head competition in a round-robin game in the 2012 world juniors where the Czech Republic won 5-2. They also have different tastes in equipment, Mrazek alternates blue pads at home, white on the road, while Campbell works in one set. Otherwise, the two 29-year-olds, born just a month apart, have grown close through camp.

“We’ve hung out at the rink, a little away from the rink, and our girlfriends have got to know each other,” Campbell said. “It’s just a real fun relationship because we push each other so much. It clicks a lot, but at the end of the day, we just want to win and for this organization to be winners. I think it’s great what we’re both bringing.

“It’s only been one game together (a raft of early penalties Monday in Montreal made it a rough start for Campbell), but knowing (Mrazek’s) career, he flips that switch (at puck drop) and is super-competitive. I’m excited to keep building that. Whoever is in, I believe we give the team a chance to win every night.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Faith In Toronto’s Core

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

Kyle Dubas knows words alone won’t heal the rift created between the Maple Leafs and their fans by the fourth and most recent playoff pooch.

But until that bridge is spanned — if it happens before he’s turfed— his unwavering faith in his Core Four players and the roster as a whole have at least resonated in the room.

“It starts at the top,” William Nylander said on Wednesday’s first day of training camp, which began with another vote of confidence by the general manager in his stars. “Him leading the way is big for the four of us. Showing he has belief is huge and helps us not be worried about other things.”

Mitch Marner said he and the boss had a few mutually beneficial summer pep talks. Yet a 2021 campaign that saw Marner named an NHL first team all-star, Auston Matthews win the Rocket Richard Trophy, Nylander lead the team in playoff scoring, and captain John Tavares maintain a point-a-game pace still didn’t get them over the first-round hump.

“I believe in the group — deeply,” Dubas repeated at the Ford Centre podium. “I know it’s easy to say at the beginning when everyone’s optimistic. But true belief gets tested when it’s a little hard, when you struggle, you fall, pick yourself up and move on.

“More important (than meeting with him) is the discussions they’ve had together. I’ve seen massive maturity from all of them, That’s how I feel, that they will win, especially coming off the (setbacks) in the past.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Another Shot For Josh Ho-Sang

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

...the magical mystery tour that has been Ho-Sang’s professional hockey career begins anew on Thursday, as the Maple Leafs open training camp for real on ice. He has no contract with the Leafs. He is guaranteed nothing but a tryout. This could be the last stop for a 25-year-old who seems to have everything but a job.

There has never been much doubt about Ho-Sang’s talent.

“You can’t teach what he has,” a former coach said. “It’s ridiculous how much talent he has. It’s wild, really. Hopefully, this time he gets it right. This time he figures it out.

“Honest, it has forever puzzled me just as it has puzzled others how this kid hasn’t made it big.”

There has always been a group pulling for Ho-Sang to find his way, not just to make the NHL but to make it big. There was no bigger cheerleader than his former agent, Ian Pulver. But those who have had him — in junior, in the minor leagues — still wonder what wasn’t gone right.

“I used to tell my players, getting the first contract is easy,” said Bob Boughner, the San Jose Sharks coach who had Ho-Sang for parts of three OHL seasons in Windsor. “Getting the second one is hard.”

Ho-Sang has yet to establish exactly who he is, and what he could be as an NHL player.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Morning Line- 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



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