TSN has provided us with another set of interviews with two of our favourite people: Auston Matthews and John Tavares. For once, it had nothing to do with the “wHo iS goINg tO bE ThE nExT cAPtaIN?” narrative that’s been a focus ever since JT signed here. But that didn’t stop Zach Hyman and Morgan Rielly from being asked about it (again) while Tavares and Matthews had to share another quote each which says what we’d all expect them to say.

Back to those interviews, Tavares said something that made me smile. Unfortunately, the question was cut short, but odds are it had to do with what his approach or expectations were for the upcoming season, to which he replied:

I don’t really try to approach any season really any differently. I always try to go on with the mindset of, don’t take any year for granted. Careers are so short and obviously, you want to have the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup so make the most of the year...

Tavares used the notion of not taking anything for granted when talking about the process of making the (RIGHT) decision in signing with the Leafs on that beautiful day in July.

It speaks to the ongoing situation we as a fan base will be in for the next set of years. Let’s set aside the contract stressors for a second. We’re in a flipping window to contend for a championship. When was the last time anyone could say that about the Leafs without taking a quick glance to a dark place or producing a chuckle under their breath?

But that ties into some of those points that Tavares made, and Matthews as well, in a separate video. Sure, expectations are at an all-time high, and if the Leafs don’t win at least a round, a dark cloud is going to hover over the city for the entire offseason. However, I think with all the progress that’s been made since Brendan Shanahan announced that ownership approved of a rebuild, we’ve gotten a little used to success.

You could say that’s what comes with being a good team in the NHL, and I’d agree with you to some extent. That said, this is probably going to be the most fun Leafs team we’ve seen in years. And all that fun may be lost in the storm of those who are constantly going to track if they’re performing well enough to excel in the playoffs even though the regular season is halfway through.

So, let’s take a lesson from JT. The Leafs are going to be fast and skilled. They may go through their valleys, but what team doesn’t. I’m not going to take this team for granted, because there are a lot of organizations who would do a lot to have what we have. Will you?

In Case You Missed It

Kyle Dubas and the Process with Bob McKenzie - Pension Plan Puppets
It sounds like a Prog Rock band, but it’s much more interesting and danceable.

Josh Jooris wants a job on the Toronto Maple Leafs — is there room? - Pension Plan Puppets
The oft-travelled depth centre wants to win a job and keep it as the Leafs fourth-line centre.

Around the Hockey World


Winnipeg Jets sign Eric Comrie to a one-year, two-way contract - Arctic Ice Hockey
In other news, there is now $650,000 less money to give to Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor at the end of the season.

Marc-Andre Fleury runs prank on Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin - PensBurgh
Some flowers have thorns, and the Vegas thorns are pretty funny.

Using microstats to analyze the Flyers’ defensemen - Broad Street Hockey
You probably expected another micro, macro joke here but instead you got nothing. You’re welcome.

Varlamov v. Grubauer: why there doesn’t need to be a competition - Mile High Hockey
Avalanche best served without need to name a starter in net

Steven Stamkos’ evolution from a pure shooter to a playmaker - Raw Charge
Stammer is passing more. And it’s working for him.

Analytics Profile: Patrice Bergeron - Stanley Cup of Chowder
We'll see you in April Mr. Patrice, but for now, here are some stats.

Blues' Tarasenko hopes to be ready for camp after surgery - Sportsnet.ca
St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko hopes to be on the ice for the start of training camp next, week five months after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left shoulder.

Contract extensions announced for hockey operations senior management
Signings in Columbus! (not Artemi Panarin though)

Enjoy your weekend Leafs fans. Remember the Rookie Showdown starts tomorrow for our favourite team (Go SDA!)