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.”