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Coachs Corner: Maple Leafs Zaitsev doesnt know how to play
2 2019 . sportsnet.ca. By Emily Sadler.


Now that the NHL Trade Deadline is behind us, were beginning to see how new acquisitions are fitting in with their new clubs.

While some are thriving in their new threads, others are taking a little longer to adjust. Take Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin, for example. Toronto traded for the 30-year-old on Jan. 28, sending their 2019 first-round pick, the rights to Sean Durzi, and forward Carl Grundstrom to the Los Angeles Kings in return. The move was applauded as the one that would bring a much-needed boost to a blue line that has needed it, but in the 15 games hes played with Toronto its clear Muzzins transition to Toronto hasnt exactly been as smooth as many had hoped.

Rather than pointing fingers at the play of Muzzin, however, Don Cherry believes its his defence partner who should shoulder the blame.

Im telling you, everybodys on Muzzin watch [Nikita] Zaitsev. He doesnt know how to play, Cherry said on Coachs Corner Saturday night, calling him out for his play against the Buffalo Sabres in the first period of Saturdays matchup. You know what he is? You know what Zaitsev is? He was minus last year, he was minus the year before, he was minus in the playoffs. You know what he is? Hes a forward playing defence. And somehow or other, Muzzin is the guy theyre blaming.

Remember, Muzzin was the best player in L.A., Cherry continued. He comes here and hes having a tough time? Hes having a tough time because hes playing with that guy. Zaitsev is not a defenceman.




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