In case you missed it, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock met with the media yesterday to update fans and analysts on the injury status of Leafs superstar Auston Matthews and starting goaltender Frederik Andersen.
The prognosis? It’s a good one:
Awwwwwww yeah, baby!
Here’s a clip of Matthews practicing with his teammates yesterday at Air Canada Centre, note that he’s wearing a “regular” white jersey rather than a red “no contact” jersey, as he’s been wearing the past couple weeks:
And here’s Matthews and Andersen together:
Double yeah, baby! Let’s go, boys! The stretch drive starts NOW!
UPDATE: Scrap all that, Babcock has now confirmed that Matthews WILL NOT play tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Breaking: Leafs demote Sparks to Marlies
The Toronto Maple Leafs have officially loaned goaltender Garret Sparks to the team’s AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.
Sparks was initially recalled following Wednesday’s shootout victory over the Dallas Stars in which starting goaltender Frederik Andersen left the game with an “upper body injury”. Today’s news seems to signal that after taking the last two games off, Andersen is ready to return to action.
Unfortunately for Sparks he did not see any playing time during his brief recall. The 24-year-old goaltender has been absolutely fantastic with the Marlies this season, posting a remarkable 1.78 GAA and .936 save percentage in 35 games. Together with partner Calvin Pickard, the duo comprise perhaps the strongest goaltender tandem in the AHL.
Sparks has spent his entire professional career in the Leafs organization after having been drafted by the team in the 7th round (190th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He has a 6-9-1 NHL record to go along with his 3.03 GAA and .893 save percentage in 17 NHL starts, all from the 2015-16 season.
Shanahan addresses Lamoriello’s future as Leafs GM
In case you missed last night’s Saturday Headlines segment on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman offered an update on the ongoing “will he or won’t he?” scenario facing the Toronto Maple Leafs and general manager Lou Lamoriello.
“There have been whispers out there that going back to last summer, there was a meeting where it was stated out loud in a group setting that this would be Lou Lamoriello's last season as the Leafs' general manager,” reported Friedman’s colleague Chris Johnston last week.
It’s been widely speculated that Lamoriello is playing out the final year of his contract before determining what his future holds. But, Friedman reported last week that he isn’t so sure that Lamoriello is done with the Leafs entirely.
"Technically, I don't think Lou Lamoriello is in the last year of his contract," said Friedman. "There is term. The question is, ‘Is the term as general manager, or is there another role he will take in the organization?’, Technically I don't think he's in the last year of his deal."
"I wouldn't be surprised if he's in an advisory role for a couple more years," Friedman says.
Last night, Leafs president Brendan Shanahan elected to make a public statement on the situation and essentially just kicked the can further on down the road.
Check it out:
“No decisions have been made. I haven’t spoken to any of the particulars. We are concentrating on the rest of the season and the playoffs. Any decisions about the organization won’t be made until after the season is over.”
Friedman then pointed to one of Lamoniello’s most infamous quotes saying, ““Lou Lamoriello has a saying, ‘If you have time, use it,’” said Friedman. “And that’s what Shanahan seems to be subscribing to.”
Another one of Friedman’s Sportsnet colleagues, Nick Kypreos, took issue with the quote, effectively calling it a smoke screen.
“I can appreciate the quote, but I also think it’s rather inconsistent in the way that Brendan Shanahan has led the Toronto Maple Leafs in the last four years,” said Kypreos. “Let’s face it. Since day one, this guy has had a plan, and there’s no signs whatsoever that he’s deviated from that plan.
“So maybe, just maybe, what is consistent is that he’s already made his decision, but to respect the people around him, he’s going to keep it quiet until he’s ready to go public with it, as he said, at the end of the season.”
Leafs sign son of former NHL enforcer
The Toronto Maple Leafs have officially announced that they’ve signed 22-year-old forward Mason Marchment to a two-year, entry level contract.
The Uxbridge, Ontario native has been playing with the Toronto Marlies, the Leafs' American Hockey League affiliate, since the 2015-16 season. He's also played with the Orlando Solar Bears, in the East Coast Hockey League.
The 6 foot 4, 200 pound left winger, amassed nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points in 37 games this season. If Marchment’s name sounds familiar it’s because he’s the son of former infamous NHL enforcer Bryan Marchment.
The elder Marchment played over 900 games in the NHL split between the Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, Hartford Whalers, Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames and the Leafs, scoring just 40 goals and 182 points but amassing an incredible 2307 penalty minutes. Marchment was a feared fighter and, frankly, dirty hitter during his NHL days and made enemies wherever he went. If his son can inspire half the amount of anger and frustration from his opponents that his father managed, he’ll have one heck of an NHL career in front of him.