“Rush!”, a voice bellowed behind him, making William Nylander and Nick Robertson startle and fall head first into a cloud of snow.

“Rush! Rush! Don’t you understand St. Thomas talk?”

Neither Nylander nor Robertson could see the face behind the voice as it got closer, being half-buried in snow. Then they felt someone pull them out of the pile of snow, and as they blinked away the snowflakes from their eyes the first thing they saw was a the biggest beard on the tallest man he had ever seen in his life.

“Hey, you get frostbite that a’way!” the gigantic bearded man said with a friendly but admonishing tone.

“Who... who are you?” Robertson asked warily.

“Who am I?” The bearded man asked in surprise, looking slightly indignant at not being recognized. “The name’s Joseph Thornton, the greatest playmaker in the sport! This is my rink, and you know it’s rich with gold medals! Goooooooooooooooooooold! Gold medals and silver cups, silver cups and gold medals!”

Nylander and Robertson were still trying to pull themselves together and digest this information, when Thornton pulled out his hockey stick and flipped it into the air.

“WAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Thornon bellowed in pure joy. When it landed blade first, he picked it up and inspected it carefully — even licking it once. He seemed to deflate a bit after.

“Nothing... oh well. Now I’m off to get my prize: playoff wins, the Stanley Cup, eternal glory, and championship rings. Here, I’ll give you two a lift. Hop aboard, mateys!”

Before they could say anything, Thornton had picked them both up in one hand and started skating away. As he did, he held them up to his eye level and seemed to be assessing them each more closely.

“Little Bruins, burarum...” Thornton’s voice rumbled.

“It’s talking, Willy. The beard is talking!” Robertson whispered.

“Beard? I am no beard! I am a Thornton,” he answered in indignation.

“A puck herder... a shepherd of the rink!” Nylander exclaimed in an excited realization.

“Don’t talk to it, Willy... don’t encourage it!” Robertson continued to whisper fearfully.

“Jumbo Joe some call me...” Thornton rumbled out loud, still skating onward with massive strides.

“And... what team are you on?” Robertson asked apprehensively.

“Team? I am on nobody’s team. Because nobody’s on my team, little Bruin. Nobody cares for the rinks anymore.”

“We’re not Bruins!” Nylander yelled. “We’re Leafs!”

“Leafs. Never heard of Leafs before. Sounds like Bruins mischief to me...” Thornton rumbled on, his voice taking on an angry growl. Nylander and Robertson gasped as Thornton’s grip on them tightened. “They come with crosschecks. They come with sucker punches. Gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, licking! Destroyers and usurpers!”

“No! You don’t understand!” Nylander yelled in desperation. “We’re Leafs! Maple Leafs! Toronto-folk!”

“Maybe you are, and maybe you aren’t. The cap wizard will know...” Thornton answered, calmer now than he was during his outburst.

“Cap wizard...” Robertson whispered.

“Pridham.” Nylander answered, just as Thornton dropped them both on the ground.

Nick and Willy looked up to see Brandon Pridham and Kyle Dubas staring in surprise at their sudden appearance.

“Oh, Joe!” Dubas said when he realized who had arrived. “I see you’ve met Nylander and Robertson. They’re two of our best young players, and we’re excited at the chance to have you set them both up for plenty of goals. Have you thought about our latest offer?”

“I have, and I accept. Send the papers over to my agent to arrange for signing. I need to catch a plane to Switzerland so I can stay in game shape for whenever the next season can start. Nice meeting you William, Nicholas!”


Leafs Postseason Rankings | a Fanpost by theForester26

Thornton reached out to football great Montana before picking Leafs | by Kristen Shilton at TSN, with a good amount of quotes from Dubas and Thornton.

More from that Zoom call on Sunday:

There’s also this, which killed me.

10 other times the Maple Leafs added a veteran Hall of Famer | by Down Goes Brown at The Athletic. TRIGGER WARNING: contains some Leafs history. Read at your own risk.

Pontus Holmberg has been on the best goal scoring streak of his life, with three goals in his last two games and four already in eight games this season. His career best was last year, with seven goals in 52 games.

More prospect stuff from Nick Richard at TLN: Prospect Roundup: Amirov update, Prospect on pause, Akhtyamov gets the call

Q&A: Brian Burke on Maple Leafs shakeup, Oilers goalies, Hall’s big deal | from Sportsnet.ca

Leafs Musings: The Joe Thornton signing, the odd man out, and the next steps | From Kevin Papetti at MLHS

Have a great Monday everyone!

Which movie better describes the Willy and Robertson meeting Jumbo Joe?

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer84
Lord of the Rings113