The Maple Leafs asked Twitter’s media relations department how they should play last night. All they got back was a poop emoji, so that’s what they did against the Islanders. It ended up being a 7-2 loss, despite the Leafs scoring first and mostly playing okay through the first half of the game. But two goals late in the second and everything fell apart.
The Leafs haven’t been playing their best lately, they’ve been very loose and that’s causing chances the other way. Namely, the Kämpf line has struggled massively. It’s probably worth looking into a rearrangement there.
William Nylander and Sheldon Keefe have been upset with his game lately. I don’t think this is coming from a lack of effort, but frustration due to a lack of things working. Per NST, Nylander was 31-8 last night in shots and his line was the only plus on the night (1-0), but I think Nylander knows he could’ve gotten more scoring done out of the offense he generated. I think he’s ready to go back to Matthews or Tavares, we’ll see if Keefe agrees at practice tomorrow in Florida.
Nylander: “I haven’t been happy with my game. I’m pissed off about it. It happens. You just have to dig yourself out of it.”— David Alter (@dalter) March 22, 2023
Despite the embarrassing loss, at least the Tampa Bay Lightning had one of their own, losing 3-2 to the Montreal Canadiens. Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed three goals on 20 shots, while former Lightning goalie Samuel Montembeault stopped 31 of 33. Fellow former Bolt Jonathan Drouin also scored on them. The Lightning were described to be slow in the first period and didn’t do much to change that perception the rest of the way.
So, after an embarrassing loss two different ways for both the Leafs and the Lightning, nothing has changed in the playoff “race”. The Leafs still hold a three point advantage with two more games to play down the stretch.
The Leafs returned Alex Steeves and Joseph Woll back to the Marlies before last night’s game. Steeves was up for his latest stint with the Leafs but didn’t skate very much and Bobby McMann played over him. The reason for this was an injury Steeves sustained during training off the ice. The Leafs kept him up while he was injured and have sent him back down now that he’s healthy to play on the Marlies.
The biggest news in the NHL yesterday was the announcement that Fanatics will be the jersey partner starting in 2024. I don’t know anything about the jersey-making process for players, but I assume they all come from the same suppliers (sweatshops?) and are just badged with whatever logos they need to be in. I don’t have the money to spend on jerseys (yes, not even on sale, guy in my mentions), so I don’t get the commentary around this announcement. My only questions are how much goes to the cap and did they get more from Fanatics than Nike, Adidas, etc offered.
Fanatics will replace Adidas as the NHL's outfitter of on-ice uniforms and authentic jerseys, beginning with the 2024-25 season on a 10-year deal.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) March 21, 2023
This marks the 1st time @Fanatics branding will be directly on an official player uniform for a pro sports property. @NHL pic.twitter.com/2iR2vpyYiK
Hockey Canada made some promotions yesterday. Gina Kingsbury played for Canada in the 00s and was the director of hockey ops for most of the women’s teams from 2018 to this year. She has now been promoted to VP of hockey ops for all three categories of teams. Marin Hickox was hired 10 months ago to “lead initiatives in safe sport and women and girls hockey.” She is now doing similar work at the VP level. Hickox comes from the marketing side of MLSE and the NHL.
Also Marin Hickox becomes the first VP of Women and Girls hockey, a position that focusses on initiatives at the grassroots level.— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) March 21, 2023