Is there a transition in a first practice playing on a line with JVR and Leo Komarov? Or do you just depend on hockey instincts and skill among the three of you guys?
Auston Matthews: I think it just depends on hockey instincts and whatnot. They’re both great players. They’re easy to play with. It was just one practice, but it was just nice to get out there with everybody and kind of get going.
You got here in August for the World Cup of Hockey. Is it just a natural progression as you move up?
Matthews: Yeah, I think so. We’re kind of starting the season, I guess you could say, with preseason starting here now. It’s always fun to have hockey back.
What, if anything, will you remember from your first practice at Leafs training camp?
Matthews: It was fun. It’s hockey out there, so it’s always a good time. Just getting to know everybody, and kind of getting accustomed to things here. It’s definitely a pretty smooth transition.
Do you think the World Cup of Hockey experience is going to help make it even smoother?
Matthews: Absolutely. Just playing at that level of play, and getting that experience under my belt, that kind of gives you a lot of confidence going in here.
Are you surprised that you shattered the glass in practice?
Matthews: Absolutely. I don’t have the best one-timer, so when that happened, I was shocked. I think everybody else on the ice was shocked, too.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge heading into your first year in the NHL?
Matthews: It’s a big adjustment. I’m kind of just staying in the moment right now. I’ll just focus on today and just kind of go day-by-day, not getting too far ahead of myself and just trying to learn as much as I can. Talk to older guys and just kind of get a feel of what to expect.
Different countries, but you went through a transition last season. You had some family over in Switzerland. Same situation here to help ease that?
Matthews: Yeah, pretty similar. I’ll have my dad around for a good amount of time. It’s pretty important to just help me get settled in. Just have a smoother transition.
Mom cooked for the team last September. Was she able to do anything for the World Cup team this time around?
Matthews: No, she wasn’t, unfortunately. It was nice. They were in Toronto for the World Cup, so I got to go spend some time with my family and have dinner and kind of just enjoy some time together.
The NHL confirms that your jersey for the World Cup of Hockey was one of the top sellers, along with the Crosby’s and the Stamkos’. Is that going to take some getting used to for you?
Matthews: It’s a pretty cool feeling, honestly, that people want that. It’s definitely pretty exciting to be in the same sentence as those guys you mentioned. It’s pretty humbling.
A lot has been made about your maturity as a 19 year old. Where does that come from?
Matthews: I think that’s just how I’ve been and how my parents have raised me, I guess, ever since I was younger. I’m pretty sure that’s where it comes from.
Have you set any personal expectations going into the season? Obviously expectations are high. Do you have a sense of what you can and cannot do?
Matthews: I don’t think you put a sense of numbers or anything in your head. For myself, like I said before, I’ll just stay in the moment and take it day-by-day and learn as much as I can from guys that have been around. Kind of get close to the young guys who are going through the same thing. I think all of that stuff is pretty important.
What is the best advice you’ve gotten coming in here?
Matthews: Heading in here, probably from Pat Maroon. He said, “there’s never a bad day in the NHL.” Whether times are tough or things are going great, you just kind of stay on a level plane.
Have you heard anything from coach Babcock coming in here? I know you were both at the World Cup. I’m not sure if you had any run-ins or if you talked to each other.
Matthews: We spoke over the phone for just a couple of minutes just about the World Cup real quick. Obviously, he’s pretty busy here in the final. I’m sure we’ll talk a little more when he gets back and kind of get things going.
Just talk about the excitement of pulling on the Blue and White and what it’s like to be a Maple Leaf.
Matthews: Yeah, it’s an unbelievable feeling. It’s obviously a very historic franchise. Any time you throw on a jersey or a shirt, or whatever, it’s pretty cool.