Auston Matthews has cracked the slow news journalist code of spewing speculation until something gains traction online. And understandably, he’s disappointed with it.
This all started last week when Brian Burke told Sportsnet 590 The FAN that he would “bet a sizeable amount of money" that Matthews will head south of the boarder when his contract expires, due to profitable tax differences in the United States.
Obviously, when a former NHL executive declares something with so much certainty it’s bound to create a commotion with fans online.
Matthews caught wind of the rumour and speculation, and spoke to Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com about the fallout.
"We haven't even started my first year (on the new contract) and then this?” Matthews said. “I think it's just August, there was nothing going on, why not just spark up a controversy. How better to do that than to talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs."
There aren’t many better markets to fire up online than Maple Leafs fans, and Burke did just that by insinuating that their superstar 21-year-old centreman might be gone in a few short years.
"It's a little bit disappointing because it's so far away and there is other stuff that could be talked about rather than that," Matthews added. "Obviously you can talk about what you want to talk about. Obviously it creates controversy and will get you a lot of clicks. But it's not really something that bothers me or that I look at because I'm just looking at today and this season and doing the best I can."
With the added uncertainty surrounding the future of Mitch Marner, Toronto fans really didn’t need to lose more sleep at night with the idea of losing both their young stars down the road.
Matthews helped add a bit of comfort to this image, repeatedly expressing his love of Toronto and the organization itself.
"I've said it quite a bit: I've never taken it for granted these past three years” Mattews said. “I love playing in Toronto. It's unbelievable. It's the best city to play in in the NHL. Our fans are amazing. The history of the organization is incredible.”
Leafs fans, this will all be settled sometime in the 2023-24 season. Just don’t hold your breath.
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