to play this season while he recovers from a s
The most non-traditional hockey journey to one of the sports most history-laden franchises begins officially Wednesday night in Ottawa. Cheap Raptors Jerseys China . Auston Matthews will pull on a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater for his first, real NHL game.The kid from Scottsdale, Arizona, who chose hockey over baseball six years ago, is now charged with being the Original Six teams savior as?the Leafs begin their Centennial season in the midst of a massive yet promising rebuild. At the middle of it all is Matthews, whose path from Arizona to Michigan to Switzerland and now Toronto is something to behold.There are so many things that run through your head, Brian Matthews told ESPN.com this week as his sons big moment approached. Probably a lot of the same stuff that was running through my head at the World Cup and at the draft: memories, emotions, road trips, all of these things that you thought were long lost and forgotten and they come rushing back in. You kind of relive moments that have nothing to do with whats happening at the time -- enjoyment and fun from previous years and how we got here.On Tuesday, young Auston -- along with linemate and fellow rookie William Nylander?-- was the last player to come off the ice at the teams practice facility in Toronto. A rink rat, like hes always been. There were no visible signs that it was the eve of a seminal moment in his young life.Afterward, the 19-year-old center allowed that he has indeed taken time to think what Wednesday night represents for him.Its going to be a dream come true. Its something that you think about ever since youre a little kid. My parents will be there. Its going to be a special moment.Brian and Ema Matthews, like many parents of gifted athletes, are central to the story. Ema lived with Auston last season when he played pro hockey in Switzerland during his NHL draft year, and this season it will be dad living with Auston in his Toronto pad.At some point we wont be there, well just be going to games, said Brian, a chief technological officer for a New Jersey-based manufacturing company. But this seemed to be the best possible plan for this transition.Matthews is still a kid, with enormous pressure on his shoulders, living in a foreign country. The decision to have dad live with his son seems awfully smart at this juncture.The job that his parents have done with him, with the maturity, the respectfulness and the politeness, it just comes out loud and clear, said Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello on Tuesday. We found that out right away when we had the opportunity to sit down with his parents and sisters. And then, spending some time with him, prior to the draft. He certainly has a presence about him, the way he handles himself beyond his age. Right now he just has to not expect too much of himself. He has to grow. Hes still young, [its his] first year in the league, there are a lot of highs and lows.To that end, the Leafs organization is ensuring that Matthews has only hockey to focus on this season. The demands are constant -- everyone in hockey-crazy Toronto wants a piece of young Matthews. But the Leafs, in conjunction with Matthews agent, Pat Brisson, are taking steps to make sure hes not overwhelmed.I have a tremendous respect and relationship with Pat Brisson, said Lamoriello. We talk often. Theres open communication about whats best for [Matthews] future. Everyone is on board.Matthews will be available to the media like any other player at practice and games, but Leafs PR director Steve Keogh will sift through the mountain of other daily requests to ensure that the young player isnt overrun.?Lamoriello believes the Leafs have a head coach who is perfectly suited to bring Matthews along -- and, in a way, protect him, too.Mike Babcock is, day in and day out, just outstanding at doing that, said Lamoriello. And I think thats basically our biggest asset, with the young group that we have.The season of pro hockey in Switzerland last season plus his experience at the IIHF world championships in Russia last spring and at the best-on-best World Cup in Toronto last month have all helped prepare Matthews for the level of competition hell face in the NHL.I think its benefitted me a lot, said Matthews. Just going against older, more mature players who have experience in the NHL and professional hockey for a long time.That Matthews chose the Swiss League last year, a tough test for a teenager, didnt surprise his father.Hes always sought after the best that he can go against, said Brian. It doesnt matter which sport. Hes always looking for another challenge. A big part is that hes willing to take on and accept the consequences; he just wants a shot. So if he gets to go up against the best, whether it was Switzerland or in Mini Mites, or now the NHL, thats all he wants -- that challenge, the ability to face it, to test his abilities, to see what he needs to work on.He knows he has a ton he has to learn, but you have to start somewhere and I think hes just looking forward to just getting it going.It was 31 years ago that Wendel Clark went from being taken with the first overall NHL pick by the Maple Leafs to rookie forward with the club just a few months later. Even though Matthews has benefitted from his pro experience during the past year, Clark says that his first official game wearing that Leafs uniform will be something that stands alone.The exhibition games are one thing, and playing in the World Cup certainly helps, but theres still that very first game, Clark said Tuesday. Thats the real kickoff to his career. That first game, the warm-up, putting the sweater on, its really happening now. Its fun.And to think, if the Winnipeg Jets hadnt moved to Arizona some 21 years ago, it might have never happened. Auston Matthews might have never have become a fan of the sport.I think he would have played baseball, it could have been football, it could have been a number of different sports, his father said. But if the Coyotes had not been in our backyard and he hadnt gotten that exposure early on ... I honestly would not give it a big chance as to where he would be from a hockey perspective today without the Coyotes being here. No doubt about that.The kid known affectionately by his family and friends as Papi is ready to take on the NHL. And with that, a franchise with a tortured past is officially set to the turn the page. Cheap NBA Jerseys .Y. -- Syracuse has turned up the defence at the right time all season, and when High Point threatened to pull off a monumental upset the second-ranked Orange did what they do best with their quick hands and savvy play. Cheap Swingman Raptors Jerseys . Perhaps Carroll was so prepared for a break because he believes there is very little the Seattle Seahawks need heading into the off-season. "I dont see anything that we need to add. We just have to get better," Carroll said. http://www.cheapraptorsjerseys.com/ .B. -- The Baie-Comeau Drakkar took over sole possession of first place atop the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League on Thursday with their sixth straight win. NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans dont need to look at the NFL rankings to know just how productive the Oakland Raiders have been through the first two games.They can turn to video to see Derek Carr throwing down the field to Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper or Latavius Murray running away from defenders to know the challenge they face Sunday.Obviously, these guys in the first two weeks are the best, Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said Thursday.Its there statistically. You dont have to tell our guys that situation. They have eyes, and they can read. They know what theyre playing against. Our guys are ready for the challenge. Itll be a good game.Oakland is averaging 31.5 points per game, behind only Carolina and San Diego. Nobody has averaged more than the Raiders in total offense with 470 yards so far.Titans (1-1) are one of only two NFL teams to allow only one offensive touchdown through two games along with Seattle.Its the stingiest start by this franchise since 2010 and is only the fifth time in the teams history that theyve given up one or fewer offensive touchdowns through two games. Its a big change from last season when the Titans gave up 45 touchdowns and ranked 27th in points allowed.Titans coach Mike Mularkey said holding two offenses to one touchdown has to make you pretty happy. The Titans held Detroit to one touchdown a week after the Lions scored 39 points in their opening win at Indianapolis.Mularkey said the opponent can have a gazillion yards as long as they dont get into the end zone.Its whether you score more points than the other team iss all that matters, Mularkey said. Cheap Toronto Raptors Jerseys. The Titans feel very familiar with the Raiders. This will be the third game between the teams since last November, and the linebackers watched tape Thursday of that 24-21 loss to Oakland in Nashville last season.Linebacker Wesley Woodyard said that hurt considering the Raiders scored the winning touchdown late with help of a defensive penalty.The Titans may get linebacker Derrick Morgan back after he missed last weeks game with an injured left hamstring.Morgan will test himself in practice at full speed Friday, though rookie Kevin Dodd got his first career sack replacing Morgan in the starting lineup in Detroit. The Titans sacked Matthew Stafford four times in that game.Defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, still looking for his first sack this season after having seven in 2015, said he thinks the Titans are prepared for this challenge.They got a tough challenge ahead of them, so its up to them to bring their `A game because were going to bring ours, Casey said.Game notes WR Kendall Wright also practiced Thursday, taking a third of the work. He has yet to play this season while he recovers from a strained left hamstring. ... Mularkey said Josh Kline practiced more at right guard and the Titans will make a decision on who replaces Chance Warmack by Friday.---Online:AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/AP-NFL---Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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