The items are one way or the other linked — rightly or wrongly, emotionally or prudently — in what needs to be an lively low season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The odd type of possession that’s Maple Leaf Sports activities and Leisure, with two warring firm leaders working hand in hand, to singularly decide what to do with Leafs president Brendan Shanahan. That’s the primary name. Shanahan, if again, should work out what to do with common supervisor Kyle Dubas, assuming Dubas needs to return to his submit. That’s the second name. Dubas, if again, should determine what to do with coach Sheldon Keefe and his employees. All of it may be blown up. A few of it may be blown up. It appears just about unattainable that none of will probably be blown up. At the exact same time, there are the contract issues of Auston Matthews and William Nylander to take care of — and every a part of each choice pertains to one other choice or chance. Do Matthews and Nylander wish to re-sign in Toronto long-term? Do the Leafs need them to re-sign? Who makes that decision and the way is it made? Are the Matthews and Nylander selections, with each males heading into the ultimate years on their offers, associated to the Dubas and Keefe selections in any approach? There are all the time connections between gamers and administration, between gamers and coaches, between brokers and coaches and administration, all of them considerably intertwined because the low season begins now for the Leafs. In 2021, the Leafs blew a grand alternative to play for the Stanley Cup once they misplaced within the first spherical to the Montreal Canadiens. This 12 months, they misplaced Sport 5 at house in shedding to the Florida Panthers, who would have missed the playoffs had Pittsburgh overwhelmed Chicago within the last week of the season. The Panthers completed 19 factors behind the Leafs; Montreal completed 18 factors behind the Leafs. In three of the previous 4 years, the Leafs have misplaced to a group that went on to play for the Stanley Cup. This playoff ending appeared worse as a result of Toronto escaped the primary spherical beating Tampa Bay, with luck on their facet, even when the Leafs weren’t the higher group on the ice. That was a break they didn’t make the most of. Ultimately, Toronto performed 11 post-season video games, outplayed the opposition in little greater than three of these video games, and went a ridiculous 1-5 at house. Once more, the Leafs didn’t meet expectations in efficiency or supply. If that occurs as soon as, twice, thrice, you hope for one of the best subsequent season. The time for hoping has lengthy handed. THIS AND THAT The problems are many if you happen to’re making an attempt to repair the Leafs. You must signal Matthews long-term. He’s too nice to not signal. You must signal Nylander long-term. He’s too nice not go signal. You must preserve Marner. How do you exchange him? And the way do you persuade John Tavares to waive his no-trade clause on a contract that’s relatively unattainable to commerce? Higher query: If everyone is so nice, why do they find yourself underperforming 12 months after 12 months? … There may be nearly common celebration across the NHL when the Maple Leafs get eradicated from the playoffs. just like the wealthy man took one on the chin. However on the identical time, there may be important regard for Dubas as a GM. It didn’t essentially begin out that approach when he took over from Lou Lamoriello. However his popularity has grown significantly over time … If the Leafs half methods with Dubas, he’ll be working for an additional NHL group inside minutes, if that’s the route he needs to go together with his life. Pittsburgh and Calgary are amongst groups in search of GMs … Is it too late to do that? Too late to have the London Knights mixture of Mark Hunter and Dale Hunter subsequent 12 months in Toronto as GM and coach? And if not, why not? … That is now 5 years of Tavares in Toronto. He has scored at a formidable 80-point tempo over that point, common season, however at a barely common 58-point tempo within the playoffs. He had one level within the Florida sequence … Matthews is 6-foot-3. Leon Draisaitl is 6-foot-2. Each are listed at 209 kilos. Over the previous 5 seasons, Draisaitl has scored 231 objectives, Matthews has 225. Then the playoffs start. The final two years, Draisaitl has 20 objectives and 50 factors in 27 playoff video games. Matthews has 9 objectives in 18 video games and 20 factors in complete … Morgan Rielly had a below-average common season for the Leafs however an excellent playoffs. He was Toronto’s greatest participant. His play was inspiring. His associate, Luke Schenn, additionally performed terrific hockey. They had been the one two skaters who exceeded expectations within the post-season. HEAR AND THERE Alex Pietrangelo is a very good hockey participant who did a very dumb factor on the ice and the NHL enabled him to get away with it. His wild slash on Draisaitl ought to have been a three-game suspension, minimal. Which most likely would have ended his season. As an alternative, the NHL does the nicely-nicely factor of suspending Pietrangelo and Darnell Nurse for a similar variety of video games for unrelated hockey crimes that aren’t in any approach related … Poor Timo Meier. He’s most likely going to spend the summer season with that vacant internet in his head. If he slides the puck into the empty aim in opposition to Carolina, there would have been a Sport 6 within the sequence with New Jersey. As an alternative, the Devils are out … Proper now, if given a selection of the roster and payrolls of High 6 gamers on Jersey, Buffalo, Ottawa or the Leafs, which group are you taking? … The commerce Kenny Holland made for Mattias Eklholm did two vital issues for the Edmonton Oilers. It put a strong big-time defenceman on their again finish and promoted younger Evan Bouchard for energy play time — with Tyson Barrie dealt to Nashville. Bouchard has an enormous shot from the purpose and leads all playoff defencemen in scoring, only one level behind Draisaitl and two behind Connor McDavid … One factor the boss of the Leafs should insist upon — whoever he could also be — is discovering a defenceman with an enormous slapshot. So many objectives begin with an enormous shot from the purpose. Not having one actually hurts … That is all it’s good to know in regards to the group’s group that’s the Carolina Hurricanes: Their greatest participant within the playoffs has been defenceman Jaccob Slavin. And including puck-moving defencemen Brent Burns and Shayne Gostisbehere was nice work by GM Don Waddell … For those who’re Patrick Kane, would you take into account returning to Chicago as a free agent to play with Connor Bedard? I might … Should be a kick for Paul Maurice to enter Carolina to teach in opposition to Rod Brind’Amour, who performed 5 seasons for him with the Hurricanes. All three of Maurice’s grownup youngsters had been born in North Carolina. SCENE AND HEARD What a time for Canadian basketball. Jamal Murray is alive and effectively with the Denver Nuggets. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was voted first-team all-star and High 5 for MVP. Dillon Brooks made the second-team all-defensive group squad. R.J. Barrett averaged 20 factors enjoying in opposition to Miami in Spherical 2 for the Knicks. Andrew Wiggins had a pointy playoffs with Golden State earlier than getting damage. Bennedict Mathurin of Indiana positioned fifth within the rookie of the 12 months voting. And Saturday there was a WNBA exhibition sport in Toronto …On February 9, the Lakers had a 25-31 report. The Raptors had been 26-30 … The primary spherical of the NHL playoffs blasted the primary spherical of the NBA playoffs by way of pleasure. The second spherical was all NBA. The hockey playoffs have had too many one-sided video games in Spherical 2 … Masai Ujiri is leaving no stone unturned in his broad seek for a brand new head coach. Up to now, he appears to be contemplating everybody from Becky Hammon to Sergio Scariolo to former participant J.J. Redick. I do like the thought of Raptors contemplating Nuggets assistant David Adelman for the teaching rent. Adelman is the son of longtime NBA coach Rick Adelman. Denver head coach Mike Malone is the son of former Raptor coach, Brendan Malone. That father-son factor works for me … Is Erik Spoelstra one of the best coach within the NBA, and if he isn’t, who’s? Miami Warmth are again within the Japanese Convention Finals for the third time in previous 4 years … Klay Thompson, at one time one of many nice shooters in basketball historical past, completed up in opposition to the Lakers hitting 9 of 42 pictures, simply 21% from the sphere for the Warriors, who immediately regarded previous, sluggish and never almost athletic sufficient to defend their championship. AND ANOTHER THING Kevin Gausman is having a Dave Stieb sort of season. He’s began eight video games for the Blue Jays, has given up no earned runs in 5 of them. Jays are simply 4-4 in Gausman begins. They’re additionally 4-4 in Alek Manoah begins and go determine this: They’re 6-1 in video games Yusei Kikuchi begins. Didn’t have that on my bingo card … The baseball standings regarded bizarre Saturday morning. The Yankees, final within the American League East, are heading to Toronto for 4 video games this week … It’s arduous to be this horrible however the Oakland A’s have a run differential of -144 by means of 40 video games. No person else is inside 70 runs of being that dangerous … Up to now, the shifting of outfield fences at Rogers Centre has not helped the Blue Jays hit house runs. Final 12 months after 13 house video games, that they had 19 house runs. This 12 months, it’s 13 after 13 … I’ve no approach of understanding what sort of job Keith Jones will do as president of the Philadelphia Flyers. And I’ve no approach of understanding what sort of job Daniel Briere will do as GM. I do know this: Each are terrific, good, pushed, hockey folks. The Flyers don’t have any actual front-end expertise. It is a enormous job for a franchise that ought to actually matter within the NHL. I hope they do nice …. The NHL was OK with Chicago successful the draft lottery and winding up with Bedard. They don’t appear almost as OK with Joel Quenneville teaching within the league subsequent season. So the person will get punished for a choice made greater than 20 years in the past and the franchise mainly will get rewarded. The Leafs might do worse than having Quenneville coach subsequent season … Keefe has one of the best coach successful proportion, common season, in Leafs historical past. The place he comes up brief, like his group, is playoff time. It’s the fourth straight 12 months of being eradicated at house by a group that didn’t end above them within the standings … That is simply plain fallacious: The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have signed an offensive lineman named Jordan Boatman … Completely satisfied birthday to P.Ok. Subban (34), Rick Vaive (64), Rob Gronkowski (34), Pat Borders (60), Jack Hughes (22), Mark Stone (31), Danny Gare (69), Dennis Rodman (62), Tony Perez (81), Frank Gore (40), Alain Vigneault (62) and Wyatt Johnston (20) … And hey, no matter grew to become of Uwe Krupp?
MAURICE WAXES NOSTALGIC IN TORONTO
The stroll in the direction of the media interview room at Scotiabank Enviornment nearly all the time stops Paul Maurice. On one facet there are gigantic pictures of the legendary coaches in Toronto’s fashionable hockey historical past — Punch Imlach alongside Pat Quinn and Pat Burns. And typically Maurice, the previous Leafs coach, stops and appears and realizes the place he’s and what all of it means. “I’m nonetheless a fan of this sport,” he mentioned. “And I don’t really feel a complete lot totally different than I used to be once I was 12 years previous. Pat Quinn? I bear in mind the primary time I met him. It was an enormous deal. And Pat Burns? I used to be so younger. Ten years earlier than that I used to be a youngster watching NHL hockey and then you definitely stroll into a training room and there’s these guys, proper? There’s nonetheless loads of fan in me. It’s an enormous deal. I like strolling the halls right here and seeing the photographs on the partitions. I get pleasure from that very a lot.” This has been a monumental season for Maurice and it’s not over but. He took over the Florida Panthers, had a troublesome first half, nearly missed the playoffs, and individually handed the legendary Al Arbour on the checklist of all-time wins. That’s not one thing he was essentially comfy with, whilst a lot because it meant to him. “I felt sheepish,” he mentioned of shifting previous Arbour. “I received’t take into account myself on that checklist till I get a Stanley Cup. I lead the league in losses, .” Maurice does put Arbour on the Mount Rushmore of NHL coaches. “I met him once I was a child. He was executed teaching by then. I couldn’t name him Al. He was Mr. Arbour. That’s how I felt.” It’s how he nonetheless feels in regards to the late legendary coach. [email protected] twitter.com/simmonssteve
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