Leafs’ Tavares enjoying time with son during pandemic, mindful of those ‘on the front line’ — Toronto Sun

Cooking, barbecuing, working out. Read More

Leafs’ Tavares enjoying time with son during pandemic, mindful of those ‘on the front line’ — Toronto Sun

By Terry Koshan

Cooking, barbecuing, working out.

Maple Leafs captain John Tavares has been trying to keep himself occupied at his Toronto home with the National Hockey League season on pause in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but there’s one part of his life that takes precedence.

“I’m just really enjoying spending time with my son,” Tavares said on Monday during a video conference call organized by the NHL. “When you’re travelling through the season, you’re in and out so quickly, you don’t get to experience that consistency.

“Just having that time to be around on a daily basis and be able to help out and spend time with them has been fantastic.”

Tavares and his wife, Aryne, became parents last September with the birth of their son Jace.

During the call — which included fellow Atlantic Division players Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings and Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators — Tavares made it clear he’s not taking the time off from the game for granted.

“With the uncertainty, it’s a good time to disconnect and relax and slowly build yourself back up, as hopefully some positivity comes around the corner,” Tavares said.  “The first couple of days I just tried to get an understanding of where things are at and what has hit us. Since then, (you) try to develop some type of structure to create some normalcy.”

No one has a true idea of when we’re going to see professional athletes back on the job, never mind those in the NHL, but that wasn’t at the forefront for the players on the call.

For Tavares, it was about recognizing those he knows in New York from his days as an Islander, as well as Leafs fans.

That the Leafs were inching their way toward clinching a playoff berth when the NHL went on pause doesn’t matter a heck of a lot now.

“I know a few people who are right in the fire of it, and seeing how it’s spreading and really making the impact that it is in New York, I really hope everyone there is staying safe and following the health recommendations,” Tavares said. “Whether it’s former teammates, staff and people I know very well, the fans down there, people I interacted with there, I wish all the best to them and hope it can get better.

“In Toronto, we certainly miss playing in front of our fans and going to Scotiabank Arena and competing to play in the playoffs and the opportunity that we had in front of us.

“It’s a really special thing to be a Maple Leaf, and we never take that for granted and miss it. People have been really good in my area understanding (to follow the advice of local authorities and health professionals), we’re all here supporting each other, helping each other to do the best we can to get this back to normal as quickly as possible and (to) help everyone on the front line who are making a lot of sacrifices to keep everyone safe.”

There was some levity during the call. Chara got a laugh when he said that Tuukka Rask would be the teammate he would least want to be quarantined with because of Rask’s flatulence issues.

If he had to pick a teammate to be in quarantine with, Tavares said it would be Mitch Marner or Justin Holl.

“The type of energy they bring around the locker room, how much fun they have every day is something anyone would enjoy,” Tavares said. “Two guys who are a lot of fun to be around.”

Who among teammates is Tavares glad he is not in quarantine with?

“Good question … can’t think of anyone right off the top of my head,” Tavares said.

Among the way the Leafs are keeping in touch with each other is via group chat.

“We can’t leave each other too long without giving it to one another,” Tavares said. “You miss being around the guys.”

Unlike many, Tavares hasn’t been glued to Netflix to watch the documentary Tiger King, though his wife has been watching it and the small bits Tavares has seen are “pretty mind-boggling.”

If Tavares could have one album to listen to during the time at home?

“I like a lot of 90s stuff, so whether it would be Dave Matthews Band or Goo Goo Dolls or U2, something like that,” Tavares said.

tkoshan@postmedia.com

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NHL Rumors: League Asks All 31 Teams For Available August Home Dates — NESN.com

There’s no clear answer as to if, and when, the NHL will return to action after the league paused its season March 12 due to the coronavirus outbreak. The playoffs were slated to start in April. But it’s unknown if the regular season will pick up where it left off or if the league will…

NHL Rumors: League Asks All 31 Teams For Available August Home Dates — NESN.com

The playoffs were slated to start in April. But it’s unknown if the regular season will pick up where it left off or if the league will go into an altered playoff format. For what it’s worth, commissioner Gary Bettman is optimistic a 2019-20 Stanley Cup champion will be crowned. But could the league be looking at playing games late into the summer?

TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Tuesday alluded to such on “Insider Trading.” “Earlier (Tuesday), the National Hockey League did request from each of its 31 member clubs to provide available home dates for the month of August,” McKenzie said. Of course, teams would need to figure out how to handle players who contracts expire June 30 if games were to be played well into the summer. The NHL also reportedly asked its players to continue self-quarantining until April 6 — an additional 10 days than the original March 27 plan. Even if games go into August and beyond, the NHL still plans to have a full 2020-21 season.

Read more at: https://nesn.com/2020/03/nhl-rumors-league-asks-all-31-teams-for-available-august-home-dates/

Jets players score in the clutch, donate $100K to Harvest — Winnipeg Sun

Winning on the ice may be on hold at the moment for the Winnipeg Jets, but that’s not stopping them from doing so off of it. Read More

Jets players score in the clutch, donate $100K to Harvest — Winnipeg Sun.

Winning on the ice may be on hold at the moment for the Winnipeg Jets, but that’s not stopping them from doing so off of it.

While the National Hockey League hit the pause button on the 2019-20 regular season last week thanks to the coronavirus, Jets players came together to deliver a big win for Winnipeg Harvest on Friday.

A donation of $100,000 was made to the food bank, which feeds roughly 70,000 Manitobans each month.

“We know times are difficult right now,” read a tweet that was sent out by Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and other players on Friday. “We know there are people in the community struggling. more…

Jets players score in the clutch, donate $100K to Harvest — Winnipeg Sun

FRIESEN: Jets finally end self-inflicted PR nightmare — Winnipeg Sun

It took three days, a torrent of public criticism on social media and a fundraising campaign by an embarrassed fan, but the Winnipeg Jets are finally doing the right thing. Perhaps being linked to Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk was what finally pushed the Jets to reach the land of common sense. On Thursday when the […]

FRIESEN: Jets finally end self-inflicted PR nightmare — Winnipeg Sun

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Optimistic Stanley Cup Champion Will Be Crowned — NESN.com

The NHL is at a pause due to the coronavirus outbreak, but Gary Bettman is optimistic there will be a 2019-20 Stanley Cup champion. The NHL commissioner joined NHL Network on Friday and addressed the paused season, how there originally were plans to continue the season without fans until Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested…

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Optimistic Stanley Cup Champion Will Be Crowned — NESN.com

The NHL is at a pause due to the coronavirus outbreak, but Gary Bettman is optimistic there will be a 2019-20 Stanley Cup champion. The NHL commissioner joined NHL Network on Friday and addressed the paused season, how there originally were plans to continue the season without fans until Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Bettman even shared his thoughts about the Stanley Cup Final. According to Los Angele Times’ Helene Elliott, Bettman believes “we will be able at some point to get through the season and award the Stanley Cup.” When the season hit the pause button, the Boston Bruins were atop the NHL standings with 100 points and were in the midst of a stellar season after losing Game 7 of the Cup Final last June. Of course, only time will tell who the 2019-20 champion will be, if the season indeed is able to resume.

Read more at: https://nesn.com/2020/03/nhl-commissioner-gary-bettman-optimistic-stanley-cup-champion-will-be-crowned/

Andersen returns to Leafs crease on Thursday versus Kings — Toronto Sun

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Sheldon Keefe’s head triumphed over his heart. Read More

Andersen returns to Leafs crease on Thursday versus Kings — Toronto Sun

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Sheldon Keefe’s head triumphed over his heart.

Rather than give goaltender Jack Campbell a start on Thursday against his former club, the Los Angeles Kings, Keefe will turn to Frederik Andersen after Campbell was sharp against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

Campbell will start on Friday in Anaheim against the Ducks, giving Andersen another rest.

“The biggest thought process for us is we wanted to get Jack in two out of three games this week,” Keefe said. “That trumps anything in terms of him playing against his former team.

“Also, Fred’s our starting goaltender. It makes sense for him coming off (the fact) he didn’t play (Tuesday) night, had a full practice day (Wednesday) and he goes in and plays a game. He deserves that. At this time of year especially, you have to make those right decisions.”

Keefe has spoken of load management regarding Andersen, without using those words specifically.

Andersen has made 50 starts this season, tying him for third-most in the NHL prior to games on Wednesday. Campbell gives the Leafs a legitimate, don’t-need-to-worry backup, and we assume Campbell will be used more in the final month of the regular season.

Defenceman Rasmus Sandin will be back in the lineup after sitting in San Jose, with Calle Rosen likely to be scratched.

— Terry Koshan

Tyson Barrie suddenly feels like Maple Leafs’ old man — Toronto Sun

SUNRISE, Fla. — Tyson Barrie doesn’t have Jake Muzzin’s lengthy beard and doesn’t wear Morgan Rielly’s alternate A. But before Thursday night’s game, he was being viewed as a steadying veteran influence on a Toronto defence based on his 569 NHL games. “I probably have more games than the rest of them combined,” Barrie said. […]

Tyson Barrie suddenly feels like Maple Leafs’ old man — Toronto Sun