News and Notes: Is Robertson World Junior bound? Rielly helping out Barrie, and more

We are 100% in the downtime of hockey and that kind sucks, since there’s snow outside, we’re locked down(-ish, if you’re in Alberta like me), and December is normally around the quarter mark for the season when we’d be jumping into hockey analysis mode. Dealing with hockey downtime is a lot more tolerable in August, but fingers remain crossed for season starting soon.
Until then, here are some of the scraps of news out of Leafs land.
Nick Robertson is on the preliminary US roster for the World Juniors

Introducing #TeamUSA’s preliminary roster for the 2021 World Junior Championship.
Details → #WorldJuniors
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) November 30, 2020

So yeah, he probably should be there. He’s really good and if he’s able to play, there’s a good chance he’ll play a pretty big role for Team USA, the catch is…

Nick Robertson is among those named to Team USA’s preliminary world junior roster, but his participation will hinge on when (or if?) NHL training camps get going.
I’d expect him to remain with the #leafs if there’s a camp in December. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Topi Niemela is the Leafs 9th ranked prospect

The Leafs have placed a premium on hockey sense in the last couple of drafts, and they continued that trend with the selection of Finnish defenseman Topi Niemela at the top of the third round in the 2020 NHL draft. The young defender put himself on the map last year with Karpat, earning a regular spot with one of Liiga’s top teams at just 17 years old.
Toronto entered the draft holding the 44th overall pick but traded down from that spot, securing the 59th and 64th overall picks from the Ottawa Senators and using them to select Roni Hirvonen and Niemela, respectively. I would have considered both Niemela and Hirvonen to be good picks at 44th overall, so to end up with both of them was a really nice piece of business for Kyle Dubas on his way to restocking the Leafs’ prospect pipeline.
Hirvonen came in at 12th on our list, while Niemela is making his TLN Prospect Rankings debut inside the top ten, and both young Fins have the potential to find themselves much higher on this list as early as next season.


2-4 years

Position: Defense
Age: 18
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 163 lbs
Shoots:  …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The Toronto Six will be playing hockey soon!

FINALLY! The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) announced a plan to play out its 2021 season, and the Isobel Cup. The new season will start on January 23rd. I can’t wait to see what the Toronto Six twitter page will meme about now!

The National Women’s Hockey League today announced a plan to play the upcoming season and 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs at the 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, NY
— NWHL (@NWHL) November 25, 2020

This season will see the first EVER action from the new Toronto Six hockey club, Toronto’s newest professional hockey franchise.
In order to protect the players and staff against COVID-19, the season will be compressed and done in a bubble. The teams will each play each other once, followed by a playoff qualification round to determine seeding, followed by a 4 team Isobel Cup playoff. The Isobel Cup game will be played on February 5th, 2021.
The following additional measures are being taken, as per the announcement:
The teams will arrive separately in Lake Placid in a staggered schedule on Jan. 21 and 22. Beginning Jan. 23, they will each play five games (one against each …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Prospect Roundup: Accolades for Amirov, Kokkonen stands out, Abramov returning to action

It’s a strange time in the hockey world, with several leagues entering the mid points of their seasons while other leagues have been put on hold or cancelled altogether. The Leafs have several prospects that are projected to represent their respective countries at the upcoming World Juniors in Edmonton, and that should help provide some sense of normalcy for hockey fans if even for a couple of weeks. There are a number of other prospects, however, who still don’t know what the immediate future has in store for them.
There’s plenty to talk about with the Leafs prospect system this week, so let’s get to it.
Rodion Amirov – LW/RW – Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)
Rodion Amirov led off the Prospect Roundup last week after a strong first game representing Russia at the Karjala Cup. He carried that strong play through the rest of the tournament, scoring a goal in each game plus another in a shootout, and was named the tournament’s best forward as Russia went undefeated to claim the title. He was a key player in all situations for a Russian squad that was the only team in the tournament made up entirely of …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Hockey community rallying around 15 year old with serious injury

Anthony MacDonald is a 15 year old hockey player from Nova Scotia who suffered an unfortunate and very severe head injury on the ice earlier this week. Anthony happens to be the son of a friend of mine, so this is personal to me and to The Leafs Nation team. The outpouring of support so from the hockey community has been overwhelming and heartwarming. The GoFundMe page has been shared by hundreds of people, including some prominent members of the hockey world such as Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun, and David Amber.

Anthony is a young hockey player who needs our help. If you’re able to, click on the link below. Our thoughts are with Anthony and his family.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 12, 2020

Anthony is currently being cared for by the incredible doctors and nurses at the IWK in Halifax, but his family is sure to incur many unexpected expenses during his recovery and the days ahead, which is the last thing they should have to be concerned with at this time. I, along with Anthony’s loved ones, would greatly appreciate any support you might be able to provide in this very difficult time. …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Hockey legend Howie Meeker dies at 97

It’s a sad day in the hockey world as hockey legend Howie Meeker died Sunday at the age of 97.

Former broadcasting partner Bernie Pascall confirmed the news on Twitter Sunday.

We are saddened with the news that our friend Howie Meeker passed away this morning at the age of 97 at Nanaimo General Hospital. ⁦@MapleLeafs⁩ ⁦@HockeyHallFame⁩.Condolences to his wife Leah and family. #RIP
— Bernie Pascall (@berniepascall) November 8, 2020

The Kitchener, Ont. native was the last living member of the 147-48 cup winning Toronto Maple Leafs team — a championship he won in his second season in the league.
The year prior, Meeker joined the Leafs at the age of 23 and won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie scoring 27 goals and 45 points in 55 games. He played with the club until 1954 when he stepped away from the game.
Upon his retirement, Meeker had scored 83 goals and 185 points in 346 games winning three Stanley Cup titles.
Meeker was a MP for Waterloo South from 1951-1953 while he played but didn’t seek re-election. He later ran hockey camps that were featured on CBC that led to a career breaking barriers on Hockey Night In Canada …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

When Will Hockey Really Be For Everyone? The Mitchell Miller Situation.

This week, a story hit the online hockey space that was unknown to many, though not all, previously. Arizona Coyotes 4th round draft pick (and their first pick of the draft), Mitchell Miller, along with another teenage boy, “was charged with assault and violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act in February 2016” for their absolutely disgusting, egregious, dangerous attack on Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a Black, developmentally disabled classmate of theirs. Police reports and accounts from Isaiah’s mother document a history of bullying, harassment, and violence that culminated in the incident for which Miller was charged.
The details of the incident, and the history of violence Miller perpetrated against Isaiah, have been thoroughly documented in a number of articles and posts, including the original story linked above. The attempts to contact him have been documented as well. This post isn’t about the details of the horrific incident or the history of racism and bullying, but rather the response in and around the league, highlighting yet again that hockey isn’t really for everyone, and it definitely isn’t for you if your skin isn’t white, you aren’t able-bodied, and you don’t have the financial means to access expensive …

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Author: MerOutLoud / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, October 14th: GossipStraveganza!

Hello hockey gossip and drama lovers. Do we have an action-packed column for you! LOTS happening in the hockey world this past week, so tons of both gossip AND drama to dive into. Let’s get started, shall we?
Leafs Lads (and Ladies)
So much fun Leafs-news this week! Gonna start with our returning Leafs. Huge congrats to our captain, John Tavares, and his wife Arynne on the pending arrival of baby number two!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Tavares Family
— JohnTavaresFDN (@JohnTavaresFDN) October 12, 2020

Excited to add a new Leafs baby to the squad.
Elsewhere, Jake Muzzin and family adopted Jack Campbell for Thanksgiving:

— mitch marney (@marnylandersen) October 12, 2020

And a bunch of other Leafs (and former Leafs) popped onto the Instagram post to share….umm…well wishes?
Speaking of well wishes, former Leafs Tyson Barrie and Andreas Johnsson had some interesting parting words about playing in Toronto:

Barrie says coming out of Toronto is tough, the media can be tough and the fans. says he loves the way Edmonton plays, fast and driving teams back. Thinks the speed Edmonton has fits great with his style.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) October 10, 2020

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Author: MerOutLoud / The Leafs Nation

Pros and cons of the Leafs signing Wayne Simmonds

It is going to be an interesting day in the hockey world. With the NHL Entry Draft tonight, there will be rumours about potential trades and signings flying around all day. Many of which could be about Toronto, a team that is expected to be very busy during this time. The first Toronto-related rumour of the day came from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic: 

Hearing that the Maple Leafs have genuine interest in pending UFA winger Wayne Simmonds at the right price. They have him listed as a target once free agency opens Friday. Again, would need to be a reasonable contract for it to work. But Leafs have sincere interest there.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 6, 2020

Toronto is looking to become a “tougher team to play against”. In the past, Dubas has alluded to valuing tough players but making sure they also play well is what makes it difficult. He has traded for Jake Muzzin and Kyle Clifford in the past, along with signing free agent Ilya Mikheyev. Looking for “gritty players” isn’t really something new for Dubas.
Simmonds spent the past season with the New Jersey Devils and the Buffalo Sabres. He had 25 points in 68 games while fulfilling …

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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation

NHL bubbles remain COVID-19 free

The National Hockey League’s bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton remain COVID-19 free.

In a statement Monday, the NHL said no COVID-19 tests have come back positive among the 2,814 tests conducted between Aug. 23-29.

NHL statement on COVID-19 testing results:
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 31, 2020

Testing has been done on all members of NHL clubs’ 52-person travelling parties including players and staff.
Since teams left their respective cities to join the bubbles, 27,356 COVID-19 tests have been conducted.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation