Ryan Reaves on Radko Gudas taunting Joseph Woll: “I hope he tries that”

Photo credit:Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Hobson
9 months ago
Hockey fans are simple beings. If you’re a player who has a knack for doing exciting things on the ice, be that scoring big goals or laying big hits/dropping the gloves, any qualms any fan might have with you will instantly be forgotten once you fire up the fans on the ice. This is going to be a sound piece of advice for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ new acquisitions to take with them in training camp, specifically Ryan Reaves.
Signed to a three-year contract worth $1.3 million annually, Reaves’ deal left a lot of fans, myself included, feeling skeptical. We’ve seen effective fourth-line players sign for league minimum or close to that year after year, so to overpay for a player who won’t see the ice beyond the fourth line seemed like a bit of a questionable call. 
That being said, I also recognize that if Reaves shows up and does his job, which includes embracing his loudmouth personality into a dressing room that needs a boost, standing up for his teammates, and giving his team a new aura of confidence, that $1.3 million annual salary is going to seem like nickels and dimes. 
Reaves was one of a few players in attendance at the Leafs and Legends Charity Golf Classic, and with a small media availability, it should come as no surprise that the topic of defending teammates came up. In particular, he was asked about an infamous picture taken in the seconds after the Florida Panthers eliminated the Leafs in the second round of the 2023 playoffs. In the picture, Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas is seen screaming in the face of Maple Leafs netminder Joseph Woll. When asked about preventing incidents like that one, he remarked “I’d like to see him try it. It would be fun.” 
It’s easy for Reaves to say this now, but if nothing else, it’s clear that he understands his role on the team. And honestly, nobody is expecting him to show up and be the second coming of Tie Domi. But having him in the dressing room alone could be enough to give the team a new vote of confidence in these situations. Like I said when I wrote about him recently; we can sit here and gripe about his contract or his actual playing ability as much as we want, but as spectators, we will never know the true extent of what having a player like him in the dressing room can do for the success of the team. 
Training camp is set to pick up later this week with the first pre-season game set for Sunday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators.

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