Auston Matthews nominated for Hart Trophy, the first Maple Leafs finalist in 28 years

It won’t wipe away the sting of another first-round disappointment, but the accolades are still coming in for Maple Leafs star centre Auston Matthews.The 23-year-old is a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player to his team, as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. It’s his first nomination for the most prestigious individual award in hockey. He’s also the first Leaf nominated for the award since Doug Gilmour was a finalist when Mario Lemieux won in 1993.The voting is based on regular-season performance, and his 41 goals led the league, netting him the Rocket Richard Trophy, the first Leaf to win the award since it was introduced in 1999. Matthews was the first Toronto Maple Leaf to lead the league in goals in 75 years (Gaye Stewart, 37 goals, 1945-46) and the first American player to do so in 24 years (Keith Tkachuk, 52, 1996-97). It will be an interesting race between Matthews and Connor McDavid — the favourite for the award — who led the league in points. Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon is the third finalist.The only other Maple Leafs to win the Hart was Babe Pratt (1943-44) and Ted Kennedy (1954-55).Matthews, McDavid and Sidney Crosby are also the finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, as the league’s most outstanding player as voted on by the players. The Lindsay and the Hart frequently mirror each other. They did last year when Leon Draisaitl walked away with both. No Leaf has won the Lindsay, originally introduced as the Lester B. Pearson Award in 1970-71.Matthews is up for a third award as well, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player. He had five minor penalties in 52 games and 56 penalty minutes in his five-season NHL career. He never has had more than 14 penalty minutes in a season. Alexander Mogilny (1991-92) was the last Leaf to win the Byng.Defenceman Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes is the Byng favourite, assessed one minor penalty despite leading his team in ice time per game (22:59). Minnesota captain Jared Spurgeon (three minors) is the other Byng nominee.Awards have been historically few and far between for any Leaf, and Matthews is on his way to being the most decorated with three up for grabs, a Richard in his pocket, and having already been named the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year (2016-17).Dave Keon remains the Leafs’ most decorated player, with a Calder, two Byngs and a Conn Smythe as the most valuable player in the playoffs.Prior to Matthews’ arrival, the last Leaf to win a major award was Jason Blake in 2008, taking the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his dedication to the sport in coming back from a rare form of cancer. Mats Sundin was also given the Mark Messier Leadership award by the league that year.Gilmour won the Leafs’ only Frank J. Selke Award, as best defensive forward, in 1992-93, the same year Pat Burns was named coach of the year, taking the Jack Adams Award.There was a change in the voting process this year, to accommodate the fact that teams did not play outside their divisions and to reduce potential regional biases.The Professional Hockey Writers Association, whose members vote for the Hart, Norris, Selke, Calder, Byng and Masterton (as well as post-season all-stars) reduced the number of voters to 100 from 155.Each division got 20 “beat” voters, with a further 20 “at large” which includes European voters and journalists who take a “national” view rather than beat writers who cover a single team.If the same voters from last year voted, there would have been 82 voters from the North Division, 36 from the East Division, 20 from the Central Division, 18 from the West Division, four from Europe and 15 U.S.-based broadcasters that do not fit neatly into any category.The NHL has not finalized a date to announce the award winners, only saying that they will be revealed “during the Stanley Cup semifinals or Stanley Cup final.” The awards are expected to return to their typical spot on the hockey calendar, between the awarding of the Cup and prior to the draft, at a glitzy location in Las Vegas next year.Kevin McGran is a Star sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @kevin_mcgran

Auston Matthews nominated for Hart Trophy, the first Maple Leafs finalist in 28 years

It won’t wipe away the sting of another first-round disappointment, but the accolades are still coming in for Maple Leafs star centre Auston Matthews.

The 23-year-old is a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player to his team, as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. It’s his first nomination for the most prestigious individual award in hockey. He’s also the first Leaf nominated for the award since Doug Gilmour was a finalist when Mario Lemieux won in 1993.

The voting is based on regular-season performance, and his 41 goals led the league, netting him the Rocket Richard Trophy, the first Leaf to win the award since it was introduced in 1999. Matthews was the first Toronto Maple Leaf to lead the league in goals in 75 years (Gaye Stewart, 37 goals, 1945-46) and the first American player to do so in 24 years (Keith Tkachuk, 52, 1996-97).

It will be an interesting race between Matthews and Connor McDavid — the favourite for the award — who led the league in points. Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon is the third finalist.

The only other Maple Leafs to win the Hart was Babe Pratt (1943-44) and Ted Kennedy (1954-55).

Matthews, McDavid and Sidney Crosby are also the finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, as the league’s most outstanding player as voted on by the players. The Lindsay and the Hart frequently mirror each other. They did last year when Leon Draisaitl walked away with both. No Leaf has won the Lindsay, originally introduced as the Lester B. Pearson Award in 1970-71.

Matthews is up for a third award as well, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player. He had five minor penalties in 52 games and 56 penalty minutes in his five-season NHL career. He never has had more than 14 penalty minutes in a season. Alexander Mogilny (1991-92) was the last Leaf to win the Byng.

Defenceman Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes is the Byng favourite, assessed one minor penalty despite leading his team in ice time per game (22:59). Minnesota captain Jared Spurgeon (three minors) is the other Byng nominee.

Awards have been historically few and far between for any Leaf, and Matthews is on his way to being the most decorated with three up for grabs, a Richard in his pocket, and having already been named the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year (2016-17).

Dave Keon remains the Leafs’ most decorated player, with a Calder, two Byngs and a Conn Smythe as the most valuable player in the playoffs.

Prior to Matthews’ arrival, the last Leaf to win a major award was Jason Blake in 2008, taking the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his dedication to the sport in coming back from a rare form of cancer. Mats Sundin was also given the Mark Messier Leadership award by the league that year.

Gilmour won the Leafs’ only Frank J. Selke Award, as best defensive forward, in 1992-93, the same year Pat Burns was named coach of the year, taking the Jack Adams Award.

There was a change in the voting process this year, to accommodate the fact that teams did not play outside their divisions and to reduce potential regional biases.

The Professional Hockey Writers Association, whose members vote for the Hart, Norris, Selke, Calder, Byng and Masterton (as well as post-season all-stars) reduced the number of voters to 100 from 155.

Each division got 20 “beat” voters, with a further 20 “at large” which includes European voters and journalists who take a “national” view rather than beat writers who cover a single team.

If the same voters from last year voted, there would have been 82 voters from the North Division, 36 from the East Division, 20 from the Central Division, 18 from the West Division, four from Europe and 15 U.S.-based broadcasters that do not fit neatly into any category.

The NHL has not finalized a date to announce the award winners, only saying that they will be revealed “during the Stanley Cup semifinals or Stanley Cup final.”

The awards are expected to return to their typical spot on the hockey calendar, between the awarding of the Cup and prior to the draft, at a glitzy location in Las Vegas next year.

Kevin McGran is a Star sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @kevin_mcgran

Source : Toronto Star More   

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‘The blood’s flowing again’: Toronto restaurants prepare for reopening blowout, just as Euro soccer starts

Friday might be the first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for restaurants in Toronto. It marks the return of patio dining to the city. The restaurant reopening coincides with the start of the European Football Championship, a massive sporting event and big draw for patrons in the city.“The blood’s flowing again,” said Rocco Mastrangelo, owner of Café Diplomatico in Toronto’s Little Italy. Reservations, only available to people watching the (first) game (Italy vs. Turkey), were fully booked at the restaurant by Wednesday, he said.“It’s going to be a great reopening.”It’s been a brutal year for restaurants in Toronto. From the beginning, the pandemic decimated the industry and whiplash lockdown restriction changes from the province piled on further hurt.The reopening was initially scheduled for June 14, but was pushed forward after an announcement Monday. Social-distancing rules, which limit tables to four people maximum and require they be spaced out at least six feet from each other, have cut Diplomatico’s patio capacity from 117 to about 70. Still, it’s a far better than zero.“Soccer’s part of our business model,” said Mastrangelo. “It’s a huge draw and we do big promotions for it — not this year, though, obviously, because we didn’t know we were going to be open for it.” Normally, there would be a street party to accompany the game. Italy’s team is playing, which would add to the fanfare in the neighbourhood.Dave Auger, general manager of 817 Sports Bar & Grill near Queen and Bathurst, said, since reopening was announced, the restaurant’s phone has been ringing off the hook.“We have customers calling us, texting us, Instagram, live-messaging, emailing — all wanting to watch the game,” he said. “They can’t wait to watch the game on the patio.”Auger said it’s been overwhelming; 817 has limited patio space and just five of its six tables have a view of the TV screen. Next week, the addition of a plexiglass divider will bump the patio to nine tables, but not in time for the big game.“It’s going to be tough; people are going to be lining up for seats and trying to watch the game of the sidewalk,” said Auger. “We’re going to have to control the distancing out there. That’s going to a nightmare. “All we can do is advise people of the rules and do our best,” he said. “But on the patio, the rules are very strict. We will enforce them completely and make sure everyone has a good time.”Unfortunately, many thousands of restaurants did not survive to see the excitement this week would bring.In the first few weeks of the pandemic, 10 per cent of the country’s eateries had permanently closed and an estimated 800,000 of Canada’s 1.2 million restaurant workers had been laid off.By December, more than 15 per cent, or 10,000, of Canada’s restaurants were gone forever.Moments of hope for the battered industry, such as the one this week, have been few and far between.In Toronto, there was just such a moment in March, when the province suddenly decided to allow restaurants to reopen patios. Restaurants were given less than 24 hours notice of the rule change and many worked night and day to prepare — power-washing furniture, advertising on social media and frantically ordering enough food and drink to meet increased demand.Just two weeks later, the lockdown returned, shuttering the city’s patios yet again, leaving owners with hefty bills for supplies that would go unused, and staff without jobs yet again.Restaurateurs pray when patios reopen Friday, it will be for good. Mastrangelo said distrust in reopening plans has made it difficult to re-hire staff. “That two-week stint where we got shut down again right away turned off a lot of staff,” said Mastrangelo. “A lot of them waiting on the sidelines now to make sure we actually stay open.“Having to come back to work only to get laid off after two weeks really screwed them up.”Mastrangelo said, with time, restaurant staff will grow comfortable enough to return, but he fears for what would happen should the lockdown return.“I believe the restaurant industry is on it’s way back to a normal lifestyle,” said Mastrangelo. “And I hope I’m correct, because it would be very, very bad if we get shut down again.”Ben Cohen is a Toronto-based staff reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @bcohenn

‘The blood’s flowing again’: Toronto restaurants prepare for reopening blowout, just as Euro soccer starts

Friday might be the first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for restaurants in Toronto. It marks the return of patio dining to the city. The restaurant reopening coincides with the start of the European Football Championship, a massive sporting event and big draw for patrons in the city.

“The blood’s flowing again,” said Rocco Mastrangelo, owner of Café Diplomatico in Toronto’s Little Italy. Reservations, only available to people watching the (first) game (Italy vs. Turkey), were fully booked at the restaurant by Wednesday, he said.

“It’s going to be a great reopening.”

It’s been a brutal year for restaurants in Toronto. From the beginning, the pandemic decimated the industry and whiplash lockdown restriction changes from the province piled on further hurt.

The reopening was initially scheduled for June 14, but was pushed forward after an announcement Monday.

Social-distancing rules, which limit tables to four people maximum and require they be spaced out at least six feet from each other, have cut Diplomatico’s patio capacity from 117 to about 70. Still, it’s a far better than zero.

“Soccer’s part of our business model,” said Mastrangelo. “It’s a huge draw and we do big promotions for it — not this year, though, obviously, because we didn’t know we were going to be open for it.”

Normally, there would be a street party to accompany the game.

Italy’s team is playing, which would add to the fanfare in the neighbourhood.

Dave Auger, general manager of 817 Sports Bar & Grill near Queen and Bathurst, said, since reopening was announced, the restaurant’s phone has been ringing off the hook.

“We have customers calling us, texting us, Instagram, live-messaging, emailing — all wanting to watch the game,” he said. “They can’t wait to watch the game on the patio.”

Auger said it’s been overwhelming; 817 has limited patio space and just five of its six tables have a view of the TV screen. Next week, the addition of a plexiglass divider will bump the patio to nine tables, but not in time for the big game.

“It’s going to be tough; people are going to be lining up for seats and trying to watch the game of the sidewalk,” said Auger. “We’re going to have to control the distancing out there. That’s going to a nightmare.

“All we can do is advise people of the rules and do our best,” he said. “But on the patio, the rules are very strict. We will enforce them completely and make sure everyone has a good time.”

Unfortunately, many thousands of restaurants did not survive to see the excitement this week would bring.

In the first few weeks of the pandemic, 10 per cent of the country’s eateries had permanently closed and an estimated 800,000 of Canada’s 1.2 million restaurant workers had been laid off.

By December, more than 15 per cent, or 10,000, of Canada’s restaurants were gone forever.

Moments of hope for the battered industry, such as the one this week, have been few and far between.

In Toronto, there was just such a moment in March, when the province suddenly decided to allow restaurants to reopen patios. Restaurants were given less than 24 hours notice of the rule change and many worked night and day to prepare — power-washing furniture, advertising on social media and frantically ordering enough food and drink to meet increased demand.

Just two weeks later, the lockdown returned, shuttering the city’s patios yet again, leaving owners with hefty bills for supplies that would go unused, and staff without jobs yet again.

Restaurateurs pray when patios reopen Friday, it will be for good.

Mastrangelo said distrust in reopening plans has made it difficult to re-hire staff.

“That two-week stint where we got shut down again right away turned off a lot of staff,” said Mastrangelo. “A lot of them waiting on the sidelines now to make sure we actually stay open.

“Having to come back to work only to get laid off after two weeks really screwed them up.”

Mastrangelo said, with time, restaurant staff will grow comfortable enough to return, but he fears for what would happen should the lockdown return.

“I believe the restaurant industry is on it’s way back to a normal lifestyle,” said Mastrangelo. “And I hope I’m correct, because it would be very, very bad if we get shut down again.”

Ben Cohen is a Toronto-based staff reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @bcohenn

Source : Toronto Star More   

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