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From the Branches: Auston Matthews does things

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And does them well.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In case you were wondering, MLHS was nice enough to provide us with Auston Matthews' complete results in the fitness testing. It's important to know how good he is at balancing on one leg while pushing a block backwards, right? Or how much gravity affects him when he falls on a metal plate? It's still pretty cool to see how athletic this kid is:

Aerobic Fitness: Test Duration – #7
Anaerobic Fitness: Fatigue Index – #23
Aerobic Fitness: VO2max – #5
Agility & Balance: Pro Agility Left – #3
Agility & Balance: Pro Agility Right – #6
Anaerobic Fitness: Mean Power Output – #6
Anaerobic Fitness: Peak Power Output – #4
Anthropometry: Wing Span – #10
Body Composition: Body Fat – NR
Probable draft order overall - #1
Force Plate: Vertical Jump – #17
Musculoskeletal: Bench Press – NR
Musculoskeletal: Left Hand Grip – #4
Musculoskeletal: Pull-Ups – NR
Musculoskeletal: Right Hand Grip – #22
Musculoskeletal: Standing Long Jump – #18
Force Plate: Vertical Jump – #17

(More at Maple Leafs Hot Stove)

Anyway. On to...

Leafs News

Auston Matthews, N.H.L.’s Top Prospect, Is Comfortable on Ice and Under Heat | NY Times
"In many ways, the interviews and the physical testing of top amateur prospects taking place here as part of the N.H.L. scouting combine, in advance of the draft, may help prepare Auston Matthews for the likely crucible of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs next season."

Toronto Maple Leafs: 5 Potential Offseason Targets | Too Many Men On the Site (and not enough women, likely)
"Ben Bishop/or Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning" HEY!

Other Hockey News

Report: There’s a chance NHL salary cap could drop below $70M next season | NBC
Isn't that, like, one MLB salary?

NHL, SPORTS WORLD PAY TRIBUTE TO MUHAMMAD ALI | Newsweek
"Ali invited a 17-year-old DeBoer and a few of his friends up to his room and gave them autographed Korans."

Poll: With no Canadian teams, are you watching the NHL playoffs? | Metro News
"If a pro hockey league stages its playoff tournament without any Canadian teams, do Canadians watch? Does the tournament even happen?"

Contrary to what some experts predicted, the Penguins' no-name defense is getting it done | ESPN
"But the one storyline that has, until recently at least, rarely been given voice: Holy cow, this Penguins defense is good. And maybe not just good, but Stanley Cup good."

Dream of NHL coming to Las Vegas is nearing reality | Review Journal
"When Bettman explained the three scenarios the league was contemplating — expand by one or two teams, wait a year or put expansion on hold indefinitely — he covered both ends of the rink as far as Las Vegas and Quebec City are concerned."

Prospects suffer at NHL combine; Bruins could next season | Boston Herald
"Actually, watching the so-called Wingate ergometer peak power-output test was fun, assuming one had an inclination toward sadism. These were 114 very fit young men, but just 30 seconds of the most intense, all-out effort on the stationary bike turned many into ill and quivering wrecks. Many had to be helped to a nearby tent, where they could recover in privacy." Lol.

At least one NHL official wants the combine back in Buffalo | Biz Journals
"Marr, the NHL’s director of scouting, said he loves the "under one roof" set up the Buffalo Sabres have established using both the First Niagara Center and its Seymour H. Knox III Plaza neighbor, the HarborCenter."

2016 NHL Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition | Bleacher Report
Slideshow warning, but still, interesting to mock-draft with combine results taken into account.

For N.H.L.’s Black Aces, It’s an Opportunity in Spades | New York Times
"Carpenter was not even in the building for the first two games in Pittsburgh. He was instead back in San Jose, patiently waiting for the opportunity, no matter how remote, to make his N.H.L. playoff debut. This is the life of the Black Aces, players who are called up from the A.H.L. when N.H.L. teams are allowed to expand their rosters when they make the playoffs." -- Oh New York Times and your strict adherence to using periods in acronyms.