“With all due respect to the players that were signed for big dollars and big term, we looked at July 1st this year and decided that we didn’t want to be too involved with some of those big signings … It’s a bad habit to try and build your team on July 1st year after year after year.”
That was Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, per TSN.ca, after Toronto stayed largely out of the free-agent frenzy. The biggest deal the club gave out on July 1 was for four years and $11.8 million, to former Leaf Leo Komarov. The Leafs also signed veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas to a three-year, $9 million contract, before giving Mike Santorelli a one-year, $1.5 million commitment on July 3.
Toronto had wanted to re-sign Dave Bolland, but ultimately would not give the veteran center what Florida offered (five years, $27.5 million).
The Leafs, of course, have been burned in free agency before. Just last year they gave David Clarkson a seven-year, $36.75 million deal, only to watch him score five times in 2013-14.
Defenseman Mike Komisarek was another free-agent bust.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: