It’s time for a change for the Maple Leafs. After six pre-season games and three regular season games playing only the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens, we finally get to see them pay against someone new. A team from the US, even.

The New York Rangers will become the first US team the Leafs have played since March 2020 tonight after last season was spent entirely in Canada. It kicks off a string of games against US teams including the Leafs first big road trip of the season which starts on the weekend. But first, there’s the Rangers tonight who have one win in their first three games. We are continuing our scheduling experiment this week. Our combined preview and game chat is here:

Maple Leafs Game Day: Who is this strange team coming to Toronto?

The Marlies opened their season this weekend with a win and a loss against the Manitoba Moose. It was a roller coaster ride with a high after the win on Saturday and the stellar debut of Josh Ho-Sang, to a deep low on Sunday with a 5-0 loss and a nasty looking injury to Nick Robertson. My weekend recap of the games and notes on some players is here:

Ho-Sang’s stellar debut and Robertson’s injury mark Marlies’ split weekend series against Moose

With respect to Robertson, it appeared to be an injury to either his right foot, or leg, as he was not able to shift any weight on to it as he was essentially carried off on the shoulders of his team mates and then the training staff. After the game, Marlies coach Greg Moore said they would have an update on the severity today. Hopefully, it only looked really bad, but, I have a bad feeling about it. Something about the way he yelped in pain when he first tried to get up on his own before the trainer came out made me think there is no way this won’t be a long term issue.

Other News

There was only one game on the NHL calendar yesterday and it had a nasty moment too, when Radek Faska slashed Tim Stutzle right on the exposed part of his wrist, the same one on which he recently had surgery, but it has apparently turned out OK after x-rays and a doctors exam. This is the example where it looks bad, but wasn’t, which we hope is the experience for Robertson too.

What we learned from the first week of Seattle Kraken hockey - Davy Jones Locker Room
You can’t say it’s been uneventful, that’s for sure!
[SPECIES: Davy Jones Locker Room is SB Nation’s new Seattle Kraken site.]

The Boston Globe broke the story of the cause of death of recently-retired NHL player Jimmy Hayes last month. With permission from his family, they disclosed he died of an overdose of cocaine laced with fentanyl.

[Note: the Boston Globe article above may be blocked for subscribers only. You can find a summary story here on ESPN.]

I, myself had a friend who died suddenly in 2019 from the same. He was only 42, and also recently married. The medical examiner reported his system contained alcohol, cocaine, and fentanyl, but I am guessing he was surely not aware there was fentanyl in the mix. We hadn’t spoken frequently for several years as he had moved from Toronto to L.A., but it was still all a shock to find out; one of those “I can’t believe that happened to him” moments, the same as Hayes’ family describes. Opioid addiction is an epidemic out there, one of the most serious and insidious we have as it is often hidden away out of site, both in homes in wealthy neighbourhoods and in homeless encampments to which one pays attention when someone dies. May I suggest a donation to the CAMH Foundation if you are able, to help support research and programming in Ontario, or, seek out an organisation in your community that makes direct outreach and offer support to them.