Leafs notebook: Looser dress code suits Auston Matthews fine, and American invaders return to Scotiabank Arena
The Maple Leafs’ younger players finally got their way with a relaxed dress code on game days, something closer to business casual. That gets them out of the sport’s restrictive but typically mandatory — even in minor hockey — jacket-and-tie policy.
“Just trying to keep it professional, but certainly we’ve tried to give a little more freedom, relaxing just a little bit. And I think it’s gone well. So far, guys have been really receptive,” said 31-year-old captain John Tavares. “I don’t think anyone will worry too much about what I wear compared to some of the other guys.”
Centre Auston Matthews is typically deemed the best dressed.
“It’s nice to kind of mix it up a little bit,” said the 24-year-old Matthews. “Just do your own thing. Whatever makes you happy. It doesn’t matter to me.”
“I think it is good to express yourself,” said teammate Mitch Marner, also 24.
Coach Sheldon Keefe stayed out of the debate: “I’m more focused on how they’re performing when they’re in their equipment.”
The New York Rangers will be in town on Monday, then the San Jose Sharks on Friday. Say farewell to the one-anthem nights at Scotiabank Arena.
“It’s going to be great again to hear two anthems,” said Marner.
The last American team the Leafs played was the Columbus Blue Jackets on Aug. 8, 2020: a 3-0 loss that sent Toronto packing from the qualifying round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The last time they faced the Rangers was Feb. 5, 2020: a 5-3 loss in Madison Square Garden.
“We’ve been so focused on Ottawa and Montreal in the early going here — not just last season, but the pre-season here and early regular season,” Keefe said. “It is a nice change, a lot different in terms of the variety. We’re going to play three different opponents this week that we haven’t seen in quite some time.”