The Toronto Maple Leafs play tonight against the Florida Panthers in their ninth-last game of the 2022-23 regular season. Puck drop is at 7:30 in Toronto.
The Leafs held a practice yesterday and Ilya Samsonov made his return to the team after the birth of his first child with his wife, Maria. His quote is infinitely adorable.
Ilya Samsonov on birth of first child:— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) March 28, 2023
"Probably the best week in my life. A lot of emotion ... last four days we stay all together & at home is unbelievable. I feel perfect. When he comes on my skin, you feel so warmy. He’s so cute."
📸 via samsonov_30 on Instagram pic.twitter.com/bvsXenR87l
Also at practice were discussions about Ryan O’Reilly and his potential return to the lineup. As “thehumourisironic” has said in comments recently, ROR can’t return from LTIR until his 10 games and 24 days is completed. 10 games was completed over the weekend, and assuming ROR was put on LTIR on March 5th, today would be the 24th day. That means he’ll be eligible to return to the lineup on Saturday in Ottawa or after. Does Sheldon Keefe include the weekend when he says “week”? I guess we’ll find out.
Sheldon Keefe on Ryan O'Reilly: "I would call him unlikely to play this week, but I know that hasn’t been ruled out necessarily. But I think the plan is more to ramp him up through this week & look more towards next." https://t.co/1J3V7bcrGK— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) March 28, 2023
Keefe also acknowledged Timothy Liljegren’s great season up to this point and gave his confidence that the young defenseman will work through the adversity. It’s not an easy path for Liljegren to reach the top-six for the playoffs, but he has a fair chance.
Keefe's message to Liljegren: "I want Lily to focus on the fact that he’s been an excellent d-man for us all season & there’s a little bit of adversity here now & we want to help him through it."— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) March 28, 2023
Coach points out 11-&-7 can be tricky for younger guyshttps://t.co/0s732xUd58
I agree with Auston, having the creativity is one thing, but the willingness to try things is an entirely different skill. Trust me, as a teacher by day I know this too well. Mitch Marner has it in spades.
Auston Matthews on this Mitch Marner header pass on Sunday:— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) March 28, 2023
"I had to take a second look ... He was chuckling when we got back to the bench asking us if we saw it ... just thinking outside the box ... the creativity & willingness to pull it off is pretty special."
Here’s something to gnaw on for today. Michael Bunting is going to be a very highly sought after commodity this summer. Mike Johnson thinks he’ll get six years at $4 million AAV. Is that out of the Leafs price range? Maybe not? Should the Leafs spend it? Ask me after the playoffs.
"I've talked to teams around the league that like Bunting and would give him term... I think if he goes to market him getting a 6-year $24M contract is not out of the question."@mike_p_johnson on what a potential extension for Michael Bunting might look like. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/tzYVhwOOuG— OverDrive (@OverDrive1050) March 29, 2023
Not to be too controversial, but I can’t imagine looking at this and wanting to sign Jack Campbell to a long-term extension. A 40-goal difference in Dubas’ goaltending decisions has helped the Leafs out massively in a season where Auston Matthews has merely been average.
Probably safe at this point to conclude that the Leafs did not, in fact, downgrade their goaltending. pic.twitter.com/qoBnaKytlE— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) March 28, 2023
Also from Micah, the Leafs are only really behind Boston, who breaks the scale, and Carolina when it comes to average goal differential over the course of a game. The Leafs get the lead, keep it, and do very well with it. They look a degree above Tampa Bay, which is also interesting to think about.
Average score difference, by minute.— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) March 28, 2023
Cute how Florida (mostly above but v. close to zero in the end) neatly mirrors Ottawa.
(with thanks to @iyer_prashanth, who did it first) pic.twitter.com/3tiJ4tex5B
The Leafs, Tim Hortons, and Justin Bieber’s Drew House are collaborating on bringing free summer ball hockey to youth who face barriers in their communities.
TML x @TimHortons x @drewhouse— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 28, 2023
Welcome to House of Hockey, a summer-long league that provides free access to ball hockey for youth facing barriers in their communities » https://t.co/C4Dqz9idGr pic.twitter.com/KzcD3eggra
Seldo recommends this podcast. I watched the clip and it sounds pretty fun and upbeat. I might give it a download myself.
Nathan Perrott went from the @Oshawa_Generals to the @OHLHoundPower in his #OHL career, and had an unforgettable #NHL debut with @PredsNHL. The #OHLPodcast is presented by @MSGoaltending.— Mike Farwell (@farwell_ohl) March 28, 2023
YouTube: https://t.co/z3yRFEBZQw pic.twitter.com/dysAyGK72l
NHL to Derek Lalonde: “There’s a tax for that.”
"What the FUCK is goaltender interference?!"— Ryan Hana (@RyanHanaWWP) March 29, 2023
- Derek Lalonde, man of the people pic.twitter.com/1dnFY9eKSk