The Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning are set to do battle in Florida this evening in a critical Atlantic Division matchup.
The Lightning are flying high with an 8-2-0 record in their last 10 games while the Leafs have hit a bit of a lull, going just 5-5-0 over the same span. You have to imagine though that Leafs head coach Mike Babcock will have his team ready for tonight’s test, however. If, for whatever reason, the Leafs need some added motivation for tonight, Lightning superstar Victor Hedman’s comments on Leafs forward Mitch Marner just might help.
When talking with the media earlier today Hedman paid Marner a compliment calling him, “underrated,” but then quickly followed that up with a back handed compliment by pointing out that he’s not even in the All-Star Game.
Check it out:
Victor Hedman called Mitch Marner underrated this morning: "There's not a whole lot of talk about him. He's not in the all-star game."
Hey now, Big Vic… take it easy!
In all seriousness, I have no clue whether or not Hedman was actually serious or not with his comments. He could have been poking fun at Marner and all the attention that the Leafs players get in the hockey crazy media market that is Toronto, or he could simply be blissfully ignorant. After all, it’s not like the players in Tampa are used to being dissected ad nauseam on television, radio and in print each and every day like the Leafs players are.
In true Toronto fashion, Leafs fans are up in arms over Hedman’s comments and upset that the Norris Trophy winning blue liner’s comments might benefit Marner in contract negotiations this offseason. That seems a little far fetched, but then again… this is Toronto. If a butterfly flaps its wings outside Marner’s apartment, it’s bound to make headlines.