SIMMONS: A really completely different residence opener ends effectively for the Maple Leafs

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It didn’t really feel like opening night time. How may it within the midst of this international pandemic? How may it when a lot of what makes Maple Leafs hockey particular, with essentially the most loyal followers within the recreation, was lacking?

Sheldon Keefe felt it earlier than the puck was dropped. In your thoughts, you’ve got expectations about what a house opener goes to be, about what your first recreation as a coach, a rookie or a participant who’s been round without end, sporting a brand new uniform. Some guys coming residence.


Wayne Simmonds from Scarborough. Joe Thornton from St. Thomas, simply on the opposite facet of London. Keefe, the second-year coach starting his first full, shrunken season, from Brampton. You had wished, Keefe stated, that the followers have been there and that new gamers have been correctly welcomed and the thrill was the whole lot a Maple Leafs opener is meant to be.

After which the sport started, the primary of 10 conferences between the Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. It was scrambly and forwards and backwards and in some ways in all places, when hockey may be at its greatest and worst all at the exact same time. Within the wonky approach during which the NHL retains rating, the Leafs win provides them two factors, the Montreal loss in additional time provides them one. And the additional factors, which will find yourself deciding playoff positions within the North Division, have been already at play.