Positive reviews of Auston Matthews’ first game for Team North America, Brandon Prust working with Barb Underhill as he prepares for training camp, and more in the links.
Unsung moment of the game: Just before Team North American scored its second goal, by Nugent-Hopkins, Auston Matthews caused a turnover that kept the puck in the offensive zone and led to the score.
#Leafs game stats
13:13 TOI / :45 PP TOI
19 Shifts / :41avg.
20:55 TOI / 1:39 S/H TOI
25 Shifts / :50avg
— Active Stick (@oak_leafs) September 9, 2016
Auston Matthews is too good: pic.twitter.com/zEYos8zUI1
— Brett Markowitz (@brett_0) September 9, 2016
TSN Hockey analyst Jamie McLennan breaks down Auston Matthews’ first game with Team North America, explaining that Matthews showed his smarts and attention to details against Team Europe. He also discusses the incredible team speed of North America.
Patrik Laine: ‘I was just bad today’ (Pro Hockey Talk)
For Matthews, who was selected to Team North America at the World Cup over the likes of 30-goal scorer Alex Galchenyuk, expectations will be higher than perhaps ever before on a Leafs rookie. No matter how coach Mike Babcock attempts to temper expectations by insisting that Matthews will “start on the third line,” Matthews will be placed with franchise-burdening responsibility from the outset and will (already has) become synonymous with the success of the team moving forward no matter how prolific he becomes as an individual.
Thursday at the club’s practice rink was his first encounter with potential teammates, a high-pace scrimmage followed by one-on-one work with skating instructor Barb Underhill. “It’s good to come in, learn your surroundings and get to know the staff,” Prust said. “Day One was pretty good. I had surgery on my ankle (May 13) and did a couple of months (of rehab) making sure that was good. I’ve been ramping up the past six weeks or so.”
“[These are] pretty skilled guys, pretty fast guys,” Prust said after the informal practice. “It was just a scrimmage out there but there was a fast tempo. The closer you get to camp, the hunger [increases] and everyone is stepping it up a bit.”
Mythbusters Series: Three Arguments Against the Idea that “The Leafs are Decreasing Their Focus on Analytics” (MLHS)
In this article, I will argue there is significant analytical support in favour of the type of player Toronto targeted (e.g. over-age and bigger players in general, rather than the specific individuals the Leafs picked). Further, if any team in any sport is truly trying to be on the ‘leading edge’ and develop innovative approaches to the game, that often might actually require doing things others see as questionable at the time.