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Leafs thrilled with Jack Campbell all-star nod… Blues Game Night

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Respect for Jack Campbell in the Maple Leafs locker room isn’t just for what the goaltender does between the posts every night.


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Certainly, Campbell’s numbers — an 18-5-3 record with a .935 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against average — carry a lot of weight.

When Campbell was named Thursday night at the NHL All-Star Game in Las Vegas in February, the Leafs didn’t have to be reminded of Campbell’s long road to that recognition.

“It’s a great story,” center Auston Matthews said after the Leafs practice in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday before heading to St. Louis.

“It’s a great thing for people to watch and learn from, a lot of adversity he went through. No route is the same to get to the same place.

“His took a little longer and a bit of a winding road, but he’s here now. (The nod of the stars) is really well deserved. No one works harder than him. He competes. Everyone is super happy for him.


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Campbell’s journey is well documented. After being selected 11th overall in 2010 by the Dallas Stars, there were high expectations for the Port Huron, Michigan native. But Campbell was unable to translate his potential into stardom, let alone an NHL job, and was traded to Los Angeles. Angels in 2016.

With the Kings, Campbell rebuilt his game under Bill Ranford and Dusty Imoo. When the Leafs acquired Campbell from the Kings in February 2020, he was poised to make an impact in the NHL.

“I always believed that I could do what we’re doing right now,” Campbell said. “It’s good to get some results. Being nominated for the All-Star Game is great, but it’s really just the beginning. I know I can be much better. That’s what I’m working towards.


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“It’s exciting, for sure, it’s an honor for the team and how well they’ve played in front of me all year.”

Campbell, 30, was leaving a practice session on the grounds of the Leafs’ hotel when goaltending coach Steve Briere pulled up in a golf cart. Then general manager Kyle Dubas and assistant general manager Brandon Pridham also arrived to share the news.

Who came to Campbell’s mind when he was told he was going to the All-Star Game?

“It’s a big moment for my family,” Campbell said. “My parents (Jack Sr. and Debbi) and my sister (Casey) have been with me the whole time and made this dream come true.

“Also Joe Exter, my goalie coach in the USA program. He was more than a mentor, he is one of my best friends. I’ve spoken to him every week since I was 16. He had so much influence on my game, and also on my maturity. Kudos to him for being such a great friend.


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It came as no surprise when defending Rocket Richard Trophy winner Matthews was voted Atlantic Division All-Star by the fans.

“It’s a great honor to be selected among your peers, among some of the best players in the world,” said Matthews. “It’s always special to get this recognition.”

Matthews will participate in the All-Star Game for the fourth time.

John Tavares is the Leafs player who was selected for the last vote, although William Nylander was equally deserving.

“The most important thing is that he sees himself in this (elite) group as well,” Matthews said. “He’s confident, he’s played very well for us. His responsibilities have expanded a bit and he’s taking it upon himself to be really good.


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Mitch Marner has spent some of his time in COVID-19 quarantine over the past week playing golf and tennis.

In a sense.

“I’ve played a lot of VR games, played a lot of video games with my buddies,” Marner said. “The (virtual) games I had were tennis and golf. They were activities I did after training sessions for entertainment.

Patience was key for Marner, he has been sitting at home for much of the past week after testing positive.

“You don’t want to give anyone the virus, you don’t want to pass it on to anyone,” Marner said. “You have to respect it.”

Marner had a sore throat before he tested positive, so he had an idea of ​​what was to come. Sure enough, Leafs chief athletic therapist Paul Ayotte confirmed that one morning before the Leafs headed west.


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“I was a little nervous about it,” Marner said. “I was talking to Paul about it and said I thought I was going to (get a positive result).

He texted me and said, “You were right.”


Tonight, 7 p.m., TV: CBC/Sportsnet Radio: AM 1050

WHY WATCH — Long to come

The Maple Leafs and Blues meet for the first time since Dec. 7, 2019, when the Leafs won 5-2 at St. Louis. The Blues, despite some issues with COVID-19, have been nearly unbeatable at home, going 12-0-1 since losing to Arizona on Nov. 16. Something else for Toronto, which has struggled to hold a lead in the first two games on this trip, to consider: St. Louis has 12 comeback wins, which was tied for most in the NHL before Friday’s games.


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Auston Matthews 32 24 14 38 +5

Guillaume Nylander 35 16 20 36 +7

John Tavares 34 14 20 34 +6



Jordan Kyrou 33 14 23 37 +9

Pavel Buchnevich 34 14 21 35 +15

Vladimir Tarasenko 34 14 20 34 +3


Power play – TDR: 29.6% (3rd), STL: 29.6% (2nd)

Penalty kill — TDR: 82.8% (8th), STL: 84.2% (6th)


1. As mentioned, the Blues have COVID issues. Pavel Buchnevich, the team’s second scorer, was placed on protocol Friday. Already in the protocol were Scott Perunovich, Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn, Colton Parayko and David Perron. Other than Buchnevich and Perron, some of the others could play, but it was unclear on Friday.


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2. With 37 points, Toronto native and Sarnia Sting graduate Jordan Kyrou not only leads the Blues, but is a career high. As a result, he will participate in his first NHL All-Star Game. Kyrou is riding a six-game point streak, during which he has had 12 points (five goals and seven assists).

3. Craig Berube didn’t seem too worried about not having a full roster. The coach of the Blues knows he has an experienced group, even if all the holders are not available. “It’s going to be a tough game,” Berube said. “Our roster isn’t what it is, but that’s okay. We have guys who will come, fill in and get the job done.



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