Leaflets: Some Leafs thoughts as we run out the final days of the regular season

I think the only hockey I dislike more than preseason hockey is the hockey played between the time that the Leafs clinch a playoff spot and the actual start of the playoffs. Other than Matthews hitting the 40 goal mark, there isn’t a storyline left, and we’re left collectively holding our breath whenever we see something like the Nick Foligno injury last night. At least with the preseason we’ve been deprived of hockey so long that we’ll take what we can get, but here we are 52 games down, and nothing left to do but clinch first in the North, which should happen soon. Anyways, here are some stray thoughts in the dog days of May.
Nick Foligno needs to sit
I don’t know the extent of his injury, whether he was held out precautionary, or whatever, but the time is now to get Foligno as close to 100% as possible before the playoffs. Shutting him down now would give him close to weeks to rest up for the playoffs, and even if he requires a game or two to start the playoffs off, I think you give it to him. There are plenty of players like Engvall …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Campbell vs. Andersen is not really much of a goaltender controversy

The are few story-lines lazier in hockey than the goaltender controversy. It’s essentially just the guy who wasn’t the opening night starter isn’t the best goaltender on the team anymore. That’s the situation for the Leafs as they have Jack Campbell now sitting at an incredible 15-2-1 record with a .927 save percentage, while Frederik Andersen has struggled with injuries and before that, consistency. Potentially the Leafs have two good goaltenders, and that’s called depth or options, not a controversy.
In the spirit of creating a goaltending controversy we asked the TLN contributors who would be their opening night starter. The answers are somewhat expected, but perhaps the expanded answers give a bit more context to how much we’d stick with our choice, or how we feel about Plan B, C, and D.
So here is who should start game one of the playoffs…
Michael Mazzei:
Jack Campbell. He is the more game-ready goalie and the guy that has played the best out of all the options up to this point. How long he keeps the crease in the playoffs depends on his performance because I imagine they would like to get Frederik Andersen …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Thoughts on the Leafs forwards heading into the playoffs

It seems like stretches without hockey are a rarity. In a lot of ways, with the weather improving, it’s quite welcome. In other ways I just want the season to hurry up and end so we can get on with the playoffs already. This seems to be heightened by the fact that the Leafs can clinch their playoff spot as soon as tomorrow night, as Toronto requires just one more win and one more Vancouver loss to make it happen. If the Leafs top Montreal and Ottawa does a favour for Toronto, we get the “x” next to the Leafs name. If not, Thursday night offers a pretty good opportunity given that the Leafs play against the Canucks. You’d also hope that Leafs come out playing like they have something to prove against Vancouver after their unfortunate showing against the Canucks as they returned from their COVID outbreak.
Here are a few other thoughts that are still rattling around in my head.
Simmonds and Thornton are showing their value
Much has been made of the tougher Leafs over the past two games. Maybe they just really like beating up on the Jets or maybe they are preparing themselves …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

WoHo: What’s happening in women’s hockey is the Isobel Cup Playoffs!

NWHL hockey is back, baby! That’s right, starting tomorrow we will get to see four NWHL teams finally compete for the 2021 Isobel Cup! Including, of course, our very own Toronto Six. Who. Is. Excited?
And would you look at that? The NHL showed some support over on Twitter:

Championship action! @NWHL
Starting this Friday on @NHLonNBCSports @OnHerTurf pic.twitter.com/M4Pv0fRBHz
— NHL (@NHL) March 24, 2021

The NWHL also made a super cool announcement about the broadcast team for the Isobel Cup games:

The NWHL is excited to announce the NBC Sports broadcast team that will be covering our championship weekend! Kate Scott (play by play), AJ Mleczko (analyst), & Caley Chelios (rinkside reporter)
Details : https://t.co/9SHWa3uoOL: @NBCSports pic.twitter.com/KZ6zeI0jez
— NWHL (@NWHL) March 19, 2021

But before we dive deeper into this weekend’s women’s hockey plans, let’s take a quick peek at some potential drama with our very own Six:

I reached out to Cronin she told me she was surprised and devastated it happened after all the work she did, but she appreciated hearing from players and staff.
— Marisa Ingemi (@Marisa_Ingemi) March 19, 2021

Cronin helped build the roster, created partnerships, …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, March 24th: Bad calls and COVID delays galore

Happy Wednesday, hockey friends! Another week of this wacky season, where the divisions are different, games get delayed, and a referee gets fired for doing a thing all refs do (but should not do!) This week the COVID game delay finally hit the Canadian division, and Boston is bearing the brunt over in the East. Also – the Leafs posted pictures of their puppies!
Time to dive in.
Leafs Lads
Who doesn’t love PUPPIES? The Leafs sure do, and they celebrated National Puppy Day by sharing tons of adorable pictures:

It’s #NationalPuppyDay and we’re pawsitive there are some great Leafs pup pics out there
Share yours below pic.twitter.com/bnAy8K5gDo
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 24, 2021

The team missed a few, though. We can’t forget Mo and Zoë:

Or this sweet photo of Mitch’s pup and Auston’s pup hanging out:

There are tons of Leafs pups to love, and yesterday we got to see many of them!
In other fun Leaf news, the team has brought back their Leaf to Leaf series!

The Buds are back for a new season of Leaf To Leaf presented by @Rogers
Tune in on Sunday for our …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, March 3rd: A little bit of everything

Hey there hockey gossip fans, hope the past week has been treating you well. Hockey drama is at a bit of an all time high these days, with firings, player social media habits, COVID response, and more. Of course, our own Toronto Maple Leafs remain at the centre of it all, as usual, because they are the centre of the hockey world, as we all know. Let’s take a gander around the league, shall we?
Leafs Lads
Captain John Tavares is expanding his hockey footprint, as he and buddy Sam Gagner are the proud new papas of a hockey team.

A statement on the @TorontoMarlboro. Very thankful for this opportunity! pic.twitter.com/OVzankSO93
— John Tavares (@91Tavares) March 2, 2021

That’s right, the Leafs captain is the new owner of the Toronto Marlboros. JT seems to be setting himself up for a long commitment to hockey – perhaps a fun little project for when he retires? Investing in the Toronto hockey scene like this certainly indicates that he plans to be a Leaf for the duration of his career, wouldn’t you think?
Meanwhile, coach Sheldon Keefe had a hilarious reaction during media availability recently, when he was asked how he …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Top KHL Free Agents in 2020-21

The 2nd best hockey league in the world just wrapped up their regular season, 60 Kontinental Hockey League games for teams in Russia, Finland, Belarus, Latvia, Kazakhstan, and China.
The usual suspects sit atop the league with CSKA Moskva and SKA St. Petersburg leading the West, Ak Bars Kazan and Avangard Omsk tops in the East. That’s not what concerns North American teams though, their focus is on poaching the talent that elevates teams to the top of the KHL. Artemi Panarin is the most impactful example, finishing in the top 20 in NHL scoring each season since signing with Chicago in 2015.
In the 5 years or so since Panarin came to North America there has been plenty of other skaters to sign out of the KHL. Not all of them met expectations, or even played a game in the NHL. Still, the opportunity to land an NHL contributor for under $1 million is a massive incentive to scout the KHL. If it takes three tries to land a player like Ilya Mikheyev, NHL clubs should be willing to take three swings.
Before the NHL season started I spent a lot of time watching KHL games and highlights, and narrowed down a list …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, February 24th: The Hab Nots? The Juggernots? The Canadiaint’s?

What a week in hockey! We learned that the sun is Gary Bettman’s nemesis, Henrik Lundqvist defies odds, and the Habs are not, in fact, a juggernaut. We’re also dealing with a Leafs roster full of injuries, and Mike Babcock continues his attempted redemption tour…among other things.
Let’s dive in, eh?
Leafs Lads
The big story with the Leafs right now is how many of them are not playing. The injury list keeps growing, with Jake Muzzin, Joe Thornton, and Frederik Andersen as recent additions. Zach Hyman missed Monday’s game  – a super fun 3-0 loss against Calgary – but looks to be back tonight, thankfully.

Sheldon Keefe on #Leafs injured parties:
Zach Hyman WILL play tonight. Nic Petan out.
Everyone else is still out.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 24, 2021

We’re crossing our fingers and toes that most of these are not long-term, and thankfully it looks as though Freddie, at least, is not:

Sheldon Keefe asked whether Frederik Andersen’s injury is overly concerning, said it “doesn’t look that way” and “from what I’m told, he’s progressing well.”
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 24, 2021

Also hoping Jack Campbell can get back in the lineup soon, as we’ …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, February 17th: Desert Storm

Obviously, the big story in hockey this week is the disaster in the desert – that is, the absolute cluster inside the Arizona Coyotes organization. But this hasn’t been a quiet week for hockey in general, with more COVID concerns, some baby news, and even some fun! Let’s take a look, eh?
Leafs Lads
The boys in blue lost two in a row this week for the first time this season, which objectively in the grand scheme of things is probably not a big deal, but in the moment definitely sucks.
However, the good news is that cat-loving cheerleader slash goalie Jack Campbell is skating, which is a positive sign for a somewhat imminent return!

Jack Campbell was out on the ice with goalie coach Steve Briere this morning before #Leafs optional skate. He’s been out with a leg injury since Jan. 24.
Here he is cleaning up all his pucks. pic.twitter.com/OXWxGwynHo
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 15, 2021

Joe Thornton is back in the lineup, too, scoring a goal in his first game back.
But the biggest news to hit Leafland this week was the trade –

We’ve acquired Alex Galchenyuk from Carolina in exchange for Egor Korshkov …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

NHL announces enhanced COVID-19 protocols

The National Hockey League and its player association has announced a new set of COVID-19 measures aimed at enhances what’s already in place.

The league said they will be in place until at least Feb. 28 as they continue to monitor their implementation and effectiveness.
The measures, which were announced and took effect yesterday, will see more testing, stricter quarantines, better masking and the utilization of player tracking, amongst other things.
A pilot project utilizing data from the player tracking system has been launched to work to measure the manager and degree of interaction between players as an enhancement to the contact tracing process.
“The goal of this project is to more precisely determine which people should be considered for enhanced monitoring and/or quarantine based on close contact with potentially infected Players,” they said.
Additional POC testing for U.S.-based clubs 
Furthering current testing protocols, the league will be adding point of care rapid testing to be administered on game days to all players, club personnel and on-ice officials that work in or around the benches during games. If a positive test is returned, the individual will be immediately isolated per league protocols. The league said they are …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation