On the eve of Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews' playoff debut, ESPN Senior Writer Pierre LeBrun has done a masterful job in his latest article of profiling the 19-year old’s life off the ice and how it affects his on-ice game.
Despite carrying the weight of “Leafs Nation” and leading his team back into the Stanley Cup playoffs, Lebrun still describes Matthews as, “…still a kid when tucked away in his downtown condo playing video games in his downtime.” LeBrun also managed to speak to Matthews’ father Brian and when asked about his son’s living conditions, he laughed and said, “It was a semi-disaster. There were takeout containers piled up.”
Despite being just like any 19 year old with a penchant for takeout and video games, Matthews takes his job as team leader on the Leafs very seriously. "We don't want to dip our toe into the water, we want to hit the ground running," said Matthews of his opening round series against the Capitals. "You can't be afraid to step in, have fun. It's going to be an exciting series."
There’s no getting around it, if the Leafs are to compete with the Capitals in round one then Matthews will have to be at the center of their effort. The phenom put up 40 goals in the regular season and he’ll need to carry that production into the postseason to compete with a powerhouse Capitals team. Whether it’s enough remains to be seen, but you can bet that Matthews will be ready for whatever is asked of him, just as he has all season long.