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FTB: The Maple Leafs are grounded

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The Leafs lost the precision flying contest to Connor Hellebuyck.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs started their three game series against the Winnipeg Jets with a loss last night. It’s the Leafs third loss in a row. This one is getting attributed to Connor Hellebuyck being a wall in the net for Winnipeg. Here is our recap of last night’s game.

One highlight for the Leafs was Auston Matthews scoring twice, the second time being his 20th goal of the season.

The next game is Thursday night. There will probably be a practice today from which we can glean insights about the changes made on the fly during last night's game, like Justin Holl being dropped down the defence pairings while Zach Bogosian was promoted to take his place along side Jake Muzzin. William Nylander also appeared to move up to the first power play unit for a time too during the game.

ICYMI

We wrote a lot, yesterday, including about hats!

Leafs prospect Semyon Der-Arguchintsev’s KHL season is over - Katya
He should be coming back to Toronto to join the Marlies.

February Fashion Recap: Hats off - Annie
I’m taking this as confirmation that the Maple Leafs heed my advice.

Other News

There were tech problems last night in Detroit, with the Lightning and Red Wings game interrupted regularly by a broken horn that the off-ice officials couldn’t stop form going off seemingly randomly through the game. Maybe it was signalling every time a new pizza was “hot ‘n ready” at the Little Caesars Arena? Eventually the players just stopped paying attention to it.

The Department of Player Safety might be making a phone call to Dante Fabbro about this play last night where he elbowed Brock McGinn in the head.

You may have wondered, how is our old friend Andreas Johnsson doing with his new team?

There are ex-Leafs out there faring even worse this season.

ECHL Suspends Komets’ Howe 9 Games for Unsportsmanlike, Off-Ice Incident [includes video] - Scouting the Refs
Travis Howe of the Fort Wayne Komets was suspended for nine games for his actions during—and prior to—Saturday’s game against the Wheeling Nailers. [SPECIES: The “prior to” part is the most interesting. This guy went into the other team’s locker room and tried to pick a fight in there before the game started.]

Penguins add Katerina Wu as Data Scientist to organization - PensBurgh
The team says Wu’s role will be to design and implement new statistics to evaluate player and team performance. Her presentation at the 2020 CBJ Hockey Analytics Conference is available on YouTube.

How NHL players are confronting anxiety and isolation - ESPN
Player X is still on his entry-level NHL contract. He plays for a United States-based team but is from another country and is unsure when he can see his family again. "Going to the rink and being able to skate always felt awesome," he explains. "But I started dreading going home, all that time alone," he says. He figured once the season got going, it would get better. It didn't. He thought his team's first road trip would be a distraction. It wasn't...

NHL returning to ESPN, per reports - Sports Media Watch
Sportsnet and the New York Post reported Tuesday that ESPN and the NHL have agreed to a seven-year media rights deal that will go into effect next season. Per the latter, the Stanley Cup Final will air on ESPN/ABC in four of those seven years. [SPECIES: There are no financial terms yet, but obviously everyone is watching for the top line revenue number to be received by the NHL as it will have an impact on the salary cap, potentially raising it a few million dollars.]