We’re in the All-Star Break, so the Maple Leafs as such won’t play until they play the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday. Buckle up after that, because it’s basically three or four games a week for the rest of the regular season.
If you like, Auston Matthews and Jack Campbell will be playing in the All-Star Game this weekend, while the Winter Olympics are poised to kick off on Friday (our write-up on the women’s hockey tournament is here.)
A prospect note: sniper Nick Robertson returned to action for the Marlies last night.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Nick Robertson wastes little time getting back into the thick of things and withstands a pretty solid hit in the neutral zone.#LeafsForever #Marlies pic.twitter.com/w3RAfjQIf0— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) February 3, 2022
Robertson is fearless, but it’s hard not to wince when you see player after opposing player line him up for big hits. Robertson put two shots on net in the game; the Marlies defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-3.
Here are some links.
The Athletic: How Soon Before Rasmus Sandin Is Ready For A Role In The Top Four? by Jonas Siegel. There have been an awful lot of defencemen who have clobbered third-pair minutes and then struggled to make the leap to the next level (Travis Dermott, as Siegel mentions, is among them.) Sandin seems to be a question of how far hockey IQ and good passing can get you. I think he’ll make the second pair in a year or two, but the Leafs will have an interesting choice with his upcoming contract: do you buy term, or do you go with a cheaper show-me to try and capitalize now?
All About The Jersey: Things Are Bad by Stephen Schnoor. The Leafs did not leave their most recent opponents in a particularly good mood. Granted their best defenceman (Dougie Hamilton) was out, but the New Jersey Devils served up a breathtakingly limp performance on Tuesday; the goaltending was bad, sure, but so was basically the whole rest of the team. I think Jack Hughes is going to be a very good player, but the Devils have been due to take a step forward for a couple of years now, and it keeps not happening.
Habs Eyes On The Prize: Potential Destinations for Jeff Petry by Scott Matla. Petry is 34 and seems to have chugged a whole lot of Get Bad Potion this season, and he has three years after this one at $6.25M, so have fun with that. Hey, somebody might still want him, he was good once. Fun note: the Habs are on pace for one of the worst non-expansion seasons in the past 50 years.
The Ringer: Every Olympic Winter Event Ranked By The Nope Factor by Michael Baumann. COVID depriving us of NHLers at the Olympics sucks, but it also sucks that I can’t participate in the important Olympic tradition of going to a random bar and behaving as if I am passionate about curling for four hours.
At a town hall last night, Athletic reporter Mark Lazerus asked Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz about the organization’s measures to protect players from abuse, like that suffered by former Blackhawks player Kyle Beach in 2010. Wirtz responded like an enormous asshole.
Here’s the full segment/video. Just ridiculous from Rocky Wirtz. pic.twitter.com/9k9QxKW0gI— Wally Maz (@WallMaz35) February 3, 2022
Sure, that’ll convince everyone the Hawks have mended their ways. Lazerus rightly castigates Wirtz in his follow-up article on the exchange.
Watch out if you’re in southern Ontario, there’s snow piling up. Think about sun.