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SIMMONS SAYS: Why can’t Maple Leafs be more like Leon Draisaitl?



Leon Draisaitl is a playoff monster the likes of which hockey has hardly ever seen earlier than.

The previous three seasons, he’s performed 35 playoff video games for the forever-questioned Edmonton Oilers — a few of them whereas nursing an damage of some type.

In these 35 video games, he’s scored 66 factors. That’s a 155-point tempo over 82 video games for a participant that scores at a 97-point regular-season tempo over his profession.

Draisaitl is paid $8.5 million a yr by the Oilers, $2.5 million lower than the Maple Leafs pay John Tavares, $2.4 million lower than they pay Mitch Marner, $3 million lower than they’ll pay William Nylander subsequent season.

Up to now 35 playoff video games, when Draisaitl was scoring 66 factors taking part in with or with out Connor McDavid, Matthews wound up with 35 for the Leafs in the identical variety of video games, Marner scored 33, Nylander 32 and captain Tavares 24.

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Mixed, Marner and Nylander scored one level fewer than Draisaitl by himself.

McDavid and Draisaitl have mixed for 136 factors in Edmonton’s previous 35 video games — and, if the Oilers’ depth holds up, which will not be attainable, they could win a Stanley Cup one among these years.

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Matthews and Marner have mixed, as compared, for 68 factors. Nylander and Tavares have mixed for 56 factors. You don’t need to look far to see why the Leafs don’t rating within the playoffs. They’ve but to find a kind of playoff monsters — the type Doug Gilmour was in 1993 and 1994 in Toronto, the type Nikita Kucherov has been, scoring 93 factors in three straight playoff seasons for Tampa from 2020-22, the best way Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon mixed for 53 factors in 20 video games in Colorado’s current Stanley Cup season.

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Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner looks to the rafters during a game.
Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner could also be paid at an elite degree, however his play has been something however within the playoffs when it issues most. Chris Younger/The Canadian Press file


I get requested on a regular basis: Why are you so onerous on Marner? Right here’s why. Nice gamers are supposed to vary video games come playoff time. Marner scored 44 post-season factors in 18 video games as a London Knight in his final yr of junior hockey. He was a game-changer. He has performed 57 Stanley Cup video games for the Maple Leafs with 50 factors contributed, simply 11 of them objectives. Are you able to bear in mind a game-changing, series-changing, Draisaitl-on-fire type of efficiency from Marner at playoff time in any yr? Has he taken your breath away? Has he executed the unattainable? At nearly $11 million a yr, he’s supposed to do this. He’s paid to do this. McDavid got here again from no pictures on objective in Sport 1 in opposition to Vancouver to 4 factors in Sport 2. That’s what Marner has by no means executed. His wage says he’s higher than Draisaitl. On the ice, when it issues, there’s no comparability in any respect … Brad Treliving’s file of hiring coaches ought to be considerably regarding for Leafs followers. It isn’t good. The primary three coaches he employed in Calgary have been Glen Gulutzan, Invoice Peters and Geoff Ward. He was talked into Darryl Sutter, I’m advised. Then Ryan Huska. If he pulls a Peters, a Gulutzan, a Ward for the Leafs, he shall be out of labor — and shortly … If Sheldon Keefe desires to teach subsequent season — he’s being paid by the Leafs for the following two years — there aren’t any scarcity of locations he might go. And I wager, had the Ottawa Senators taken an additional week earlier than hiring Travis Inexperienced, they could have employed Keefe as a substitute … Leaving Toronto shall be onerous for Keefe, who could be very concerned in his youngsters’s minor-sporting pursuits … The bizarre nature of Keefe’s firing: He might have coached his three finest video games for the Leafs in Video games 5, 6 and seven of the sequence with Boston. That ought to assist him in his subsequent cease … With so little monetary flexibility, altering the Leafs roster is the nice problem of this low season. They could need to get a little bit worse, brief time period, to get higher long-term. That is the season, arising, by which the contracts of Marner and Tavares expire. They may attempt to deal each of these gamers — if both is keen to be dealt. The query is, what are you able to get for Tavares moreover salary-cap house? And the way a lot are you able to get for Marner when dealing from a place of weak point? … I do know this a lot: There’s curiosity from different groups in each Marner and Tavares. Curiosity is one factor. What they’re keen to surrender, to tackle an $11 million participant, that’s the higher query … It’s sounding like Craig Berube would be the subsequent coach of the Leafs — and that selection is considerably underwhelming. Will Berube be capable of deal with all the things a coach should deal with working for the Leafs? He is not going to command the market the best way Mike Babcock or Ron Wilson did, and he is not going to be co-operative in a respectful Keefe type of approach. He’s in all probability a little bit extra Randy Carlyle-like, personality-wise, simply not stylistically.

Former Maple Leafs coach Pat Burns skates at practice in 1994. He was a favourite of Steve Simmons while covering the team. Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press file
Former Maple Leafs coach Pat Burns skates at observe in 1994. He was a favorite of Steve Simmons whereas protecting the workforce. Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press file

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My favorite Leafs coaches in my time across the workforce: 1. Pat Burns; 2. Pat Quinn; 3. Paul Maurice; 4. Ron Wilson; 5. Mike Murphy. One of the best Leafs coaches I’ve lined: 1. Burns; 2. Quinn; 3. Babcock; 4. Carlyle; 5. Keefe … Does any nice participant in hockey get hit extra typically than Boston defenceman Charlie McAvoy? … It is a George Constanza reverse yr for the NHL. Normally, the primary spherical of the playoffs is sensational, then diminishes every spherical after that. This yr, the primary spherical was unspectacular, however the second spherical has been terrific so far. And wait ’til subsequent spherical, after we’re probably taking a look at Panthers versus Rangers or Oilers versus both the Stars or Avalanche — that may very well be even higher … Thanks NHL and American tv. When Evan Bouchard scored in time beyond regulation on Friday night time, it was truly Saturday morning in my home, 1:16 am. What number of Canadians east of Manitoba have been watching that late? … It was clear a number of months in the past that doubtless Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck would wind up because the goalie for Group USA on the subsequent Winter Olympics. However now, Jeremy Swayman has entered the dialog, together with Thatcher Demko and Jake Oettinger. All 4 would begin for Group Canada if obtainable … The Argos’ dealing with of the Chad Kelly scenario has been questionable from the start. However what actually set individuals off was that Kelly, now suspended for violating the CFL’s gender-based coverage, has been at observe in rookie camp on the College of Guelph, like nothing occurred. The issue with that is the Argos don’t appear to simply accept the gravity of the scenario and the league itself, via negotiations with the CFL Gamers Affiliation, has deemed it’s all proper for Kelly to be entrance and centre. It isn’t all proper. It doesn’t matter what the foundations say. Not now. Not this quickly … Canadian QB Nathan Rourke has been claimed on waivers by the New York Giants, whose professional scout, Chris Rossetti, occurs to be Canadian. So is head coach Brian Daboll. So is vice-president of soccer operations Kevin Abrams. If Rourke doesn’t get an honest shot with the Giants, he received’t get one wherever … And if the Argos have been good, they’d be watching Rourke carefully and providing him the moon ought to he turn out to be obtainable. They’ll pay him Kelly cash, much more, if he turns into obtainable they usually transfer on from Kelly because the tattered face of the franchise … Joyful forty seventh birthday, Resort California … Joseph Woll has been an expert goaltender for 5 seasons. He has by no means performed greater than 32 video games in any season. He’s been damage in all 5. He might appear to be a big-time goalie when he performs, however big-time goalies play 50-plus video games. He’s been beneath 30 games-played in 4 of his 5 years. The Leafs can pencil him in as an inexpensive, if unreliable backup, subsequent season. Till he proves in a different way, you’ll be able to’t anticipate greater than that.

Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. slides into a base.
It’s been an especially powerful time for the Blue Jays and would-be slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. AP file

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The primary quarter of the Blue Jays season is over and this isn’t a great statistic to personal: Coming into yesterday’s play, they rank thirteenth within the American League in house runs and second within the AL in giving them up. For the file, these type of numbers put you in final place … I noticed this statistic on-line on Friday: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is fifth in all of baseball in hitting the ball the toughest. When that interprets to runs scored, name me … If Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins aren’t embarrassed by this yr’s Blue Jays, they need to be. Good stadium, although. The Jays are eleventh in batting common, thirteenth in house runs, 14th in complete bases, 14th in slugging and thirteenth in OPS … On the pitching facet, they’re fourth in high quality begins, which implies they’re losing too many sturdy performances. But, someway, they’re twelfth in workforce ERA, final within the AL in hanging out batters, thirteenth in WHIP and fifteenth in on-base proportion in opposition to. Simply final season, the Jays have been second in ERA, third in high quality begins, second in hanging out individuals … Don’t know if Alek Manoah is able to be again within the massive leagues, however I do know that leaving him in too lengthy, the best way supervisor John Schneider did in his first begin in Washington, isn’t going to assist him … There’s nothing in Bo Bichette’s historical past to make sense of the primary quarter of this season. He’ll flip it round. He’ll get sizzling. It’s who he’s … Pittsburgh has had Terry Bradshaw, Mario Lemieux, Roberto Clemente, Jaromir Jagr, Willie Stargell and Sidney Crosby amongst its brightest sporting stars. And now comes child pitcher Paul Skenes, 6-foot-6, 235 kilos, throwing nearly all the things over 100 miles per hour, with all the things going his approach. His earned-run common this season in triple-A is 0.99. He’s struck out 43% of the batters he’s confronted. He appears to be like to be a present all by himself within the massive leagues at a time when Pittsburgh — and baseball — wants this type of star. By the best way, Skenes is simply 21 and comes out of LSU, Kevin Gausman’s previous hang-out … If managers don’t matter, how come the Houston Astros collapsed after Dusty Baker retired and the Texas Rangers turned potent when Bruce Bochy took over as skipper?

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It’s by no means a great factor when a sports activities franchise turns into a punchline, the best way the Maple Leafs have turn out to be. Professional wrestler CM Punk chirped WWE and NHL broadcaster Jackie Redmond with, “How about these Maple Leafs, Redmond?” That was on Monday Evening Uncooked, the place nearly all the things is scripted — besides the pictures on the Leafs … The joke going round Toronto proper now: Why do you want six Leafs as pallbearers at your funeral? I wish to be let down another time … Not a great search for Jamal Murray, throwing a heating pad on the NBA courtroom after which getting snarky when requested to elucidate why … Simply while you thought it was secure to write down off the defending champion Denver Nuggets, alongside comes the three-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, personally demolishing the upstart Minnesota Timberwolves in Sport 3 of their second-round sequence. Unsure if Jokic can win this sequence on his personal, however the Nuggets seemed all however useless after two losses at house …The primary yr of the PWHL got here with some peril. Organizers of the league had no concept what attendance can be like. Toronto simply performed its first two playoff video games to sold-out homes at Coca-Cola Coliseum, greater than 8,000 tickets offered per night time, and reside gates of greater than $2 million in complete, with one other spherical of playoffs to return. These numbers are past what anybody might have anticipated for a first-year product … And people numbers inform me Toronto will do boffo enterprise when the WNBA involves city in 2026. The rise in ladies’s sport as a reside product — the Caitlin Clark issue — has moved all the things to a different degree … One of many nice charms of the Stanley Cup playoffs is that this: Discovering a participant you both didn’t know and the way good they have been. Mason Lohrei, the previous Inexperienced Bay Gambler from Ohio State College, has impressed as a large defenceman with the Bruins … He will not be as expert as Gilmour — however then, who was? — however Vincent Trocheck in New York has so many comparable qualities in watching him play and studying his physique language. Which is spectacular, particularly at playoff time when Gilmour often shone … So very unhappy to be taught of the passing of Ron Ellis, the previous Leafs nice. Again when scoring 20 objectives actually meant one thing, Ellis had 9 20-goal seasons with the Leafs and two others past the 30-goal mark. He was a part of the ’67 champion Leafs and a mainstay on the wing for the famed ’72 Group Canada squad. I received to know Ellis over time via his work on the Hockey Corridor of Fame. He was a Leafs legend once I was rising up, however by no means acted that approach. All the time humble. All the time self-deprecating. All the time pleasant. Only a type, respectable man. RIP previous pal. Ron Ellis was 79 … Joyful birthday to Mike Weir (54), Nancy Greene (81), Brad Marchand (36), Johnny Bucyk (89), Felipe Alou (89), Adin Hill (28), Bernie Federko (68), Jeff Simmons (37), Lou Whitaker (67), Tito Santana (71), Ulf Nilsson (74) and Yo Murphy (51). And hey, no matter turned of Cam Ward?

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