On Auston Matthews and Making Toronto "Safe" For Players

September 30 2016 07:13AM

Back in June, on the day that the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Auston Matthews first overall, Mike Babcock told reporters that Matthews would start the year playing on the 3rd line, with Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak ahead of him on the depth chart.  On Wednesday this week Babcock repeated that sentiment and said it would be up to Auston to determine how quickly he's able to climb the depth chart.

Hearing Babcock say that Matthews, the Leafs franchise player, will play on the 3rd line behind Tyler Bozak may sound strange at first.  Auston recently dazzled fans at the World Cup of Hockey while playing on Team North America's first line with Connor McDavid.  Matthews had three points in three games, and his two goals were tied for the team lead.  How could a player so exciting be relegated to the third line of a team that just finished last in the NHL?  But if we look a bit deeper at what the Leafs are trying to build, it makes perfect sense.

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The Roundup

Nation World HQ
September 30 2016 05:00AM

Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 5.45.15 PM 

Jacob Trouba no shows at Jets camp, Babcock for coach of the year, a look back at Canucks draft picks and the season ahead, will Edmonton send Puljujarvi to the AHL, the Gaudreau dilemma in Calgary continues, every team kicks tires on Trouba, fantasy hockey, cherish your father and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by Violent Gentlemen.

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POSTGAME: Europe puts up a good fight, but Canada comes out on top

Jeff Veillette
September 29 2016 11:56PM

Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY SPORTS

Nobody expected Team Europe to get as far as they did. Pockets of players had played together before, on their own international teams, on professional teams, but there was never much of a chemistry building period for this group. That didn't matter, though, as they took a shorter warm-up camp than most, with a rougher start than all, and turned it into a Cinderella run all the way to the World Cup of Hockey Final.

There wasn't much of a shot given to them there, either. Nobody thought they stood a chance against Canada, the odds-on favourite from start to finish. To the surprise of many, they put up a very good fight. Ultimately, though, the Red and White hockey giant proved just too powerful to break through, even for a game.

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Team Canada sweeps, wins 2016 World Cup of Hockey

Jeff Veillette
September 29 2016 08:47PM

Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS

Well, that does it. With another commanding win over Team Europe, the Canadians have flexed their muscles again and won the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, sweeping the final series in two games.

I actually wrote this post seven hours before puck drop and scheduled it to publish at the approximate time that the game will end (and, uhh, accidentally published at one point, meaning you might be having some deja vu), so there aren't any details of what actually happened in tonight's game in this post yet (check back soon), but based on how the rest of the tournament has gone, I will guess the following has happened:

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LGD: Hockey Night in St. Catharines (Leafs vs. Sabres)

Jeff Veillette
September 29 2016 02:01PM


We're back again! The preseason kicked off with the Mitch Marner show in Halifax earlier this week, and now, the Leafs move over to scenic St. Catharines, Ontario to take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight. Here's what's going down:

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