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NHL media tour: Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly and 5 most attention-grabbing issues they mentioned – The Athletic


HENDERSON, Nev. — One other season, one other 12 months of lofty expectations for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their seemingly endless try and get previous the primary spherical.

Eight consecutive playoff collection losses, however the spring’s first-round exit particularly stung as a result of they coughed up a 3-2 collection result in the Tampa Bay Lightning and misplaced by a objective in Recreation 7.

Auston Matthews and Morgan Rielly have been two of 34 gamers who headed out to Sin Metropolis the previous two days to participate within the annual preseason NHL media tour. A part of the tasks for every participant — moreover assembly with the rights-holders and doing a season’s price of promos, commercials, interviews and social media options — was to satisfy with the nationwide media.

Matthews and Rielly talked about this upcoming season, the growing stress and encoring sturdy seasons individually, significantly Matthews, who scored 60 targets and gained the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award for his brilliance.

Right here have been among the extra attention-grabbing matters lined by the 24-year-old Matthews and 28-year-old Rielly.

Auston Matthews

On their seven-game playoff loss to the Lightning — a aggressive collection and a step ahead, however one other first-round exit all the identical.

You may’t reside previously. It’s disappointing. getting the identical consequence over and over. However I take a look at a crew like Tampa or a crew like Colorado, it took them a very very long time to win. They needed to undergo rather a lot. And I feel each crew and each journey is form of completely different. So we’re writing our personal story. And we clearly are all extraordinarily motivated, all working in the direction of the identical objective. However on the similar time, it’s each crew is completely different. Each crew has their very own story and it’s simply the journey alongside the way in which to succeed in that time.

Auston Matthews. (Michael Russo / The Athletic)


On how they’ll keep targeted within the common season, given their six consecutive one-and-done postseason appearances.

(Individuals say), “It doesn’t matter what you do within the common season. It doesn’t matter what you do within the common season.” However it does. You’ve bought to place your self in place come playoff time. You gotta make it to the playoffs, too. And we’ve bought a reasonably aggressive division (with) groups which might be getting higher, as effectively. So I feel the common season does clearly matter. And we need to preserve constructing the fitting habits and doing the fitting issues.

On his evolution into one of many league’s greatest defensive facilities.

I feel it’s expertise. I feel you simply go up in opposition to guys. And also you simply form of be taught. And also you gotta take your licks, as effectively. However I feel that’s all a part of the method. I feel you simply begin to form of determine it out. I consider my first couple of years, it was all form of geared in the direction of getting higher defensively — and rightfully so. It’s not straightforward enjoying middle, particularly whenever you’re going up in opposition to Patrice Bergeron, (Aleksander) Barkov, (Sidney) Crosby, all these guys. You’ve bought to be accountable in your personal finish.

On his relationship with Maple Leafs assistant basic supervisor Hayley Wickenheiser, one in all six girls elevated to that place within the offseason.

It’s been nice. I feel she’s been superior, any individual that I’ve leaned on for recommendation at instances all through my time in Toronto. Her getting that promotion, she deserves it. She’s the best girl hockey participant to ever play the sport. And her information and her expertise, I feel, brings rather a lot to the desk for, for all the blokes — not simply myself. For prospects, for guys which might be getting drafted. I imply, she’s been by rather a lot by her profession and has skilled rather a lot.

On Mitch Marner and his shot when all people within the league all the time talks about Matthews’ elite shot.

I feel the sky’s the restrict for him. I feel he’s simply unbelievable. I like enjoying with him. I feel after he got here again (from a December shoulder harm), he was most likely the perfect participant on the earth for the remainder of the 12 months. He’s unbelievable to be on the market with and watch. And him being a shot risk and a scoring (risk), as effectively, that opens up a whole lot of area for me. As a result of perhaps he’s not deferring or seeking to cross on a regular basis. And all people is aware of he’s bought unbelievable imaginative and prescient and unbelievable talent to arrange guys, however I feel including that factor to his sport makes him, , that rather more harmful. I feel (his shot) is correct. A number of guys prefer to shoot excessive, and I feel he form of finds little issues which might be somewhat bit decrease. He’s not going to beat you with a tough, heavy shot. He’s going to beat you with accuracy.

Morgan Rielly

On the Maple Leafs’ core as soon as once more returning, moreover an overhaul between the pipes.

I feel it’s a lift of confidence for us to have their confidence. I imply, there’s all the time modifications, folks come and go, however I feel to maintain guys collectively, to present guys a chance to proper the ship and to alter the script, I feel that’s a cool alternative. I feel that’s what’s extraordinarily motivating. This group has misplaced collectively. And it actually does make you need to win collectively that rather more. I do know it’s form of cliche, “You bought to undergo sure issues to be able to achieve success,” however that’s what we actually felt after we misplaced is that, “We’re gonna come out on the opposite finish, we’re gonna be stronger, it’s gonna make it that rather more particular, blah, blah, blah.” However I feel it’s an actual vote of confidence to maintain our group collectively as a result of there’s perception there that we’ve got folks in a spot the place we will succeed as a participant on this crew proper now. It’s a fantastic spot to be in. I really feel extraordinarily assured with the folks we’ve got and the work that’s been completed through the offseason. I feel we’re able to have success.

On beginning his new eight-year deal, longevity and who is aware of who will nonetheless be a Leaf when his contract expires.

It’s a very long time. Once I did my take care of Lou (Lamoriello) after my entry-level deal, it was a six-year deal. And there was part of me the place I used to be, “Six years is a very long time. How do you make it six years?” And now clearly, being on this place, I’ve somewhat extra confidence of longevity. That doesn’t actually fear me. My principal focus is I need to reside as much as it. I need to maintain up my finish of the cut price, and I need to be a really, superb participant for eight extra years. To be able to try this, you’ve bought to take sure steps, you’ve bought to do sure issues a bit otherwise as you become old. And I’m extraordinarily keen to try this.

Morgan Rielly. (Michael Russo / The Athletic)

On extra stress on this group.

I feel yearly the expectations are alleged to rise. I feel for our group, that’s no completely different. Whether or not there’s extra stress from who, I don’t know. I feel internally throughout the group, the expectation is larger. And what we need to obtain is extra of the identical, but it surely’s time to do it. It’s form of been like that now for some time. I hope that whenever you’re enjoying for crew, these expectations will all the time be there. And that’s factor. … As gamers right here, we’re not going to surrender, we’re not going to give up. I feel we perceive that’s our solely possibility is simply to maintain working at it.

On former Maple Leafs teammate and present Golden Knights winger Phil Kessel being eight video games from breaking Keith Yandle’s Ironman streak of 989 consecutive video games.

He’s an incredible hockey participant. And I had a pleasure to play with him. And he’s a fantastic teammate and nice particular person. I feel it takes a whole lot of work ethic. It takes a whole lot of assist from the folks round you. After which it takes some luck. He’s a man who’s extraordinarily gifted, who’s a fantastic athlete and works laborious. And for it to be him that’s upon this, this milestone is cool and actually thrilling.

On the rabid Leafs media getting again into the locker room this season.

I can’t wait. We’re excited. I needed to ask what the principles are once more. I feel it’s 5 minutes after the primary man will get off the ice for apply, so enjoying with Phil (Kessel), that meant that they have been in there instantly (laughing). I offer you guys credit score. The 12 months that every part was on Zoom was much more troublesome on you guys than it was on us. I assumed that you just guys actually dealt with it effectively. And I actually don’t thoughts speaking to you guys. It’s good. I feel it’s cool. In Toronto, I feel it’s a chance to precise your persona. When you’re a educated man concerning the sport, you’ve bought an opportunity to present your opinion on issues. So I feel it’s thrilling. I feel it’s signal that issues are returning. I hate the cliche of “again to regular” and all this different stuff, but it surely’s the reality.

 (Prime picture of Auston Matthews and Morgan Rielly: Dan Hamilton / USA Right this moment)


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