With Borje Salming in town this weekend, despite very serious health issues — he has ALS, and reportedly took a bad turn for the worse recently. And yet he managed to make the trip to Toronto and made appearances at the games on both Friday and Saturday night. The Maple Leafs decided to honour Salming last night in a couple of ways last night. Katya covered it in more detail in the linked post, but the video is so good it’s worth sharing again.
Warning: may make you tear up each time you watch it. I know I did.
Thankfully, the Leafs also honoured him by coming back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Vancouver 3-2.
Salming has a lasting legacy in Toronto, as one of the first Swedish hockey players to really make it big here. Since him Toronto has seen other stars like Mats Sundin, plusguys like Carl Gunnarsson and Alex Steen.
And who can forget about Leafs legends like Calle Rosen, Par Lindholm, Andreas Borgman, Mikael Tellqvist, Mikael Renberg, Jonas Hoglund, Jonas Gustavsson, Viktor Stålberg and Anton Stralman.
There’s been a bit of a new wave of Swedish players coming through Toronto in their current era. Andreas Johnsson and Pierre Engvall were both 7th round picks that are pretty big success stories by making the NHL. William Nylander was their first high draft pick of their post-Burke tank era, and kickstarted their rebuild. And in the past couple of years we’ve seen Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin turn into regular NHLers on defense.
Coming up, Toronto has Pontus Holmberg on the cusp of being a depth NHLer, having gotten into one game and just coming over to North America this season. Their latest draft pick from Sweden was the overage goaltender Dennis Hildeby.
Whether they make it big with Toronto or wind up being traded to another team, Toronto has a good history of turning Swedes into NHLers. Alex Steen, Carl Grundstrom, and Anton Stralman are examples of guys who went to other teams and had (/are having) success.
Did I write all of this only to find out at the last minute that Katya already wrote about honouring Salming so I had to re-write it to talk about random Swedes that have connections to the Maple Leafs?
Yes. Yes I did.
LINKS FROM THE BRANCHES
Mark Giordano’s strong play should allow for more opportunity in the Maple Leafs lineup | by TLN
Sheldon Keefe Post Game: “[Auston Matthews’] defensive plays and effort to break up a 2-on-1 changed the game for me” | transcript by MLHS
Maple Leafs report cards: Jordie Benn’s game-winning goal secures comeback victory over Canucks | by Kevin Papetti
Capitals F Aube-Kubel suspended three-games for check to the head | by TSN
32 Thoughts: Will clarity come to Canucks’ coaching staff? | by Sportsnet