Frederik Andersen bounces back to help Leafs secure point against the Blues, Mike Babcock likes the team’s improved defensive efforts, revisiting the Phaneuf trade one year later, and more in the links.
Mike Babcock on the ACC’s “fluffy” shot clock, Mitch Marner driving a line, Alexey Marchenko (MLHS)
Kane in Chicago is the same way. They can drive a line without a dominant center. That’s probably because they carry the puck so much and they have the puck so much. There is not many guys that I’ve seen over the years that can drive a line as the winger. They usually need a good centerman with them. I’ve always been under the assumption that if you can get the center, get the center every time. But, in Mitch’s case, he’s one of those guys that has that rare ability. Especially as a young kid, he’s been able to do it already.
Leafs steal point in OT loss to Blues (Toronto Star)
It was a game in which the Maple Leafs couldn’t seem to get anything going until Rielly’s goal late in the second period to tie it. They got their legs under them for the third, but had looked lethargic most of the night. “We didn’t have the start we wanted, but Freddie kept us in there,” said Rielly. “You want to walk out of here with two (points), but we’ll take the one point and learn from it and get ready for Saturday (against the Buffalo Sabres).”
Maple Leafs play better defence again, but lose in overtime (Toronto Sun)
“We turned the puck over, lost too many battles early,” summed up coach Mike Babcock, a complaint that’s made its way into his post-game comments often lately. “Then, as we got more and more competitive, we did a lot of really good things. In the end, it was a good point. I would’ve liked two, as would anyone who came (to the Air Canada Centre), but I liked the kind of game it was, instead of us racing to 10 (goals).”
Backup Leafs goalie Mac has Freddy’s back (Toronto Sun)
“You have to take ownership,” Andersen said. “If it’s a big scoring chance (that produces a goal against), you still have to look at what you could have done different. That’s how you get better. You can’t just pass the blame (to others) every time. You have to know when it is realistic for you to improve and do something different. It’s how you get better.“You pull from any kind of experience you have had, even before this year. I think that’s key.”
Maple Leafs shouldn’t go big-game hunting, could add veteran leader (Sportsnet)
Right now, for where this surprising Leafs team is, making that kind of costly investment makes no sense. Toronto are still very much in the business of evaluating what it has and adding youth and depth at every position, and to think it has accumulated enough talent in the last few drafts to allow it to start trading chunks away would be getting ahead of itself, something this franchise has been known to do.
Rielly finding the net on home ice (Toronto Sun)
The defenceman had company. And perhaps not what you’re thinking. Rielly has been using a Game Ready cold and compression therapy wrap on his leg with the hope that his leg returns to 100% quicker than it would otherwise. “I put that on, I put a heat pack on, I’m doing whatever I can when I’m at home to give myself the best chance to stay healthy,” Rielly said. “And I’m using some things on my leg to help with the blood circulation. I’m doing stuff for it all day, but it’s not very difficult when you’re lying on the couch. The leg is feeling good, getting better.”
Leafs say leadership has evolved since Phaneuf (TSN)
“[Dion] taught me how to be a good teammate, how to be a good pro,” Rielly said. “When he left, there was a group of us who had to take responsibility to take over. When you lose a guy like that, you just want to bridge the gap a little bit. We have a lot of good character guys in here, guys want to win here.”
Frederik Andersen looks refreshed, even in Leafs’ loss to Blues (The Globe & Mail)
Andersen came back Thursday night looking far more refreshed than he has in most games of late. The Leafs may have wound up losing thanks to Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who ended a quiet night by skating around a couple of Leafs and firing a rocket in the first 20 seconds of overtime, but Toronto would not have gotten that far without Andersen, who finished with 38 saves.
The Dion Phaneuf Trade: One Year Later (Silver Seven)
The whole purpose of this blockbuster was to move contracts, which puts Toronto in the better position. The burden of Phaneuf’s cap hit will no longer loom over the Leafs when they’ll eventually need to re-sign Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Jake Gardiner and James van Riemsdyk. Instead, that weight is now placed on the Senators, who now may have trouble in the future re-signing Turris, Stone and Karlsson (Bobby Ryan’s contract plays a large role in this, too).
The power and grace behind the incredible success of Blues star Vladimir Tarasenko (The Athletic)
“His Dad coached him every day,” Zaitsev explained. “Always, after the practice, they were doing something [extra to build strength]. He’s a hardworking guy… He’s a huge guy. Like, I don’t know, if nature give it to you, [you’re lucky]. He was born like that. He’s big, and he’s comfortable with it. So he’s fast.”