Auston Matthews is often referred to as a quiet player or personality, but when he scores a goal, he’s anything but.
Matthews has scored some clutch goals for the Toronto Maple Leafs and whenever he does, you can count on him to wear his heart on his sleeve. He’s either dropping to a knee, fist pumping like a mad man, gesturing to the crowd or all of the above. In the Leafs 7-6 overtime win over Chicago, it was the latter. After giving the Leafs a 6-5 lead over the Blackhawks late in the third, Matthews held his hand to his ear because he silenced the Chicago crowd. Patrick Kane, obviously, wasn’t entirely pleased with his celebration and he got the opportunity to re-enact it after tying the game 6-6. Matthews reaction to that? Hard to do anything but smile.
This is the exact kind of thing that hockey should embrace. Not Twitter chirps or weird mascots, but true emotion in the game.
So often fans want to write off players as cocky or arrogant when something like this happens, but it just adds another level of emotion to the game. There’s a reason they call Patrick Kane showtime and it seems like Matthews wants to get on that stage with him. When they played last season, a lot of people thought Matthews’ celebration was reminiscent of one the Kane often uses, so we’re really hoping this becomes a trend.
Is Matthews vs. Kane the friendly rivalry we didn’t know we needed?