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Matthews’ participation in practice a step on road back … Leafs curious to see how cross-checking crackdown goes

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Auston Matthews reduce a lonely determine on Tuesday as he fired pucks on web.

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That didn’t final lengthy.

After he completed getting some shot work in, the Maple Leafs famous person took one other important step in his restoration from surgical procedure on his left wrist, becoming a member of his teammates in Group 1 for a part of observe on the Ford Efficiency Centre.

It was the primary time in coaching camp that Matthews participated in observe, sticking round for non-contact drills earlier than heading off the ice.

“It was an excellent increase for us and for him most likely too, simply to get across the guys,” Leafs veteran Jason Spezza stated. “I do know he has been working actually onerous and has had numerous one-on-one classes with coaches.

“You may inform he has include some issues that he has been specializing in right here by means of the summer season and he seems to be nice off the ice. We’re excited to see him. We all know how particular he may be.”

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Matthews, who had surgical procedure in mid-August, took an everyday flip in dashing and forechecking drills. Extra of the identical is predicted by means of the week. 

“He regarded good to me on the market, simply how he was transferring and the whole lot,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe stated. “The photographs, the stickhandling, faceoffs for a centre are most likely probably the most important factor. That’s why it wants somewhat bit extra time.

“When it comes to him actually pushing it with the shot and the torque that’s related to it, that’s one thing that he’s going to construct towards and that’s what he’s going by means of now.”

No timeline is about in stone for Matthews’ return, although the regular-season opener on Oct. 13 is the goal, if not a pre-season recreation.

Teammates determine Matthews simply will decide up his cost for his first 50-goal season within the Nationwide Hockey League after scoring 41 in 52 video games in 2020-21 to win the Rocket Richard Trophy.

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“He’s a man that may be one of the best participant within the recreation,” Spezza stated. “He’s dominant on each side of the puck, he does loads of nice issues. Even when he doesn’t rating targets — and I feel that’s one thing that will get misplaced somewhat bit — it’s simply how properly he tracks pucks, how onerous he’s to play in opposition to.”

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Spezza stated he expects a little bit of a studying curve because the NHL enforces a tighter normal on cross-checking.

“Most likely early on, to determine what’s a name and what isn’t, we’ll undergo that,” Spezza stated. “That’s most likely the objective, is to make the sport higher and velocity the sport up and promote somewhat little bit of offence and fewer in front-of-the-net stuff, however we’ll see the way it goes.

“In the event that they name it constant, we regulate fairly fast. If it turns into somewhat bit inconsistent, I feel then it turns into somewhat bit longer of a course of.”

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Winger Wayne Simmonds, who earns a considerable portion of his paycheque parked in entrance of the opponents’ web, is taking a wait-and-see method.

“I’ve been right here (within the NHL) for nearly 14 years now and I’ve made a residing taking lumber to the again, so in the event that they’re going to clamp down on it, so be it,” Simmonds stated. “However to be sincere with you, I don’t see how they’re actually going to have the ability to do it in entrance of the web. I feel it’s simply a part of the sport and it simply occurs generally. I feel the egregious ones (will likely be known as), however generally there’s somewhat little bit of posturing there and the participant on offence makes use of it as a device as properly.

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“I’m extra on the lookout for consistency. For those who’re going to name it, ensure you’re calling it by the e book each methods and also you’re not letting something slide. Generally you hear they’re going to clamp down on some issues and because the season will get going, the longer we go, they loosen up on it. For those who’re going to do it, you must be constant by means of 82 video games and playoffs particularly.”

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LOOSE LEAFS

The Leafs can have a morning skate in Toronto on Wednesday earlier than some make the journey to Ottawa to tackle the Senators in Toronto’s third pre-season recreation. “Lots of our prime guys received’t be going to Ottawa and there will likely be loads of alternative for guys which are competing for positions,” Keefe stated … The annual Blue and White recreation is slated to be held at 6 p.m. on Friday at Scotiabank Enviornment … Defenceman Rasmus Sandin had a humorous response when he was requested about figuring out with William Nylander through the summer season and whether or not he picked Nylander’s mind. “I’m not attempting to take as a lot from his mind, to be sincere,” Sandin stated. “I’m attempting to develop my very own.” … Ahead Semyon Der-Arguchintsev wasn’t on the ice and is day after day after getting banged up, Keefe stated, within the recreation in Montreal on Monday. Ahead Pierre Engvall, working by means of a hip concern, took half in observe earlier than leaving early … Adam Brooks, on his place-holding function between Nick Ritchie and Mitch Marner: “It’s going to be quite a bit higher when Auston (is again) in that spot than me.” … Scott Pellerin, the Leafs’ director of participant improvement earlier than departing the group earlier this yr, has been employed by the Arizona Coyotes as a professional scout.

tkoshan@postmedia.com

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