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Transcript: Alexander Kerfoot Media Call - May 7, 2020

by Staff Writer MapleLeafs / MapleLeafs.com

Maple Leafs forward Alexander Kerfoot spoke with the media via conference call earlier today.

Q: (Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun): Can you give us an idea of where you are and how are making out through all this? 

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: I'm out in Vancouver at my parents' house where I grew up. I've got three younger siblings so I'm spending time with them. Obviously everyone is in the same boat, we're going through the same things. I'm doing well. I'm fortunate to have a little home gym so I'm able to do everything I'd want to from a workout standpoint, staying in shape. I'm ready to go whenever we need to get back but I'm enjoying the time with family right now and doing well. 

Q: (Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun): How much are you paying attention to the behind the scenes planning that could come at some point later in the summer and a return to the game in a possible hub city?

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: I think everyone is paying attention to it. It's our job and we need to be ready for whenever we need to come back. I think our organization is doing a really good job of keeping us informed and updated on a daily basis as to what's going on around the League and where everything stands. I think everyone on our team is well prepared and ready to come back if and when we do. 

Q: (Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun): Are you optimistic? 

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: Yeah, I'm optimistic.

Q: (Paul Henrick, Leafs Nation Network): How difficult do you think the transition will be to get back after this sort of offseason compared to what might be like in late August, early September and into training camp, which would be the normal way? 

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: That's an interesting question. I think that there will certainly be people who don't usually stay off the ice for as long as they're going to this time around and jumping back into camp could be weird in that sense. I think nowadays everyone does so much away from the rink and in their own time in the summers and times like this that it's not like guys are going away for a couple of months and come back out of shape or anything like that. I think that it seems like if we do come back, when we do come back, we're going to have time to get back on the ice, time to get back up to speed. I don't think it will be a crazy adjustment but certainly after not skating it does take a little bit to get back into game shape. 

Q: (Paul Henrick, Leafs Nation Network): Besides hockey, if there was a sport you'd like to see come back to watch and enjoy which would it be? 

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: I'm a huge sports fan in general, I like all sports and like watching sports regardless of what it is, but I would say soccer. Recently I've followed soccer a little bit more closely. I played a lot of soccer growing up, so I'd like to see some soccer back. I miss it and still like to play a little bit in the summer with my friends, so I'd go with that. 

Q: (Josh Clipperton, Canadian Press): I know one of your family homes has an indoor rink up in Whistler. I'm just wondering if you've been able to use it and kind of advantage that would be? 

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: I'm in Vancouver so I'm not up in Whistler right now. I think everyone right now is able to kind of shoot pucks and when we come back we're not going to be jumping on the ice right away. I think hopefully there will be time to kind of get up to speed and we'll be on the ice before we're playing games, and everyone will have time to get up to speed. 

Q: (Josh Clipperton, Canadian Press): Have you been on the ice at all? 

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: I've been up there in isolation with my siblings a couple times, yeah. 

Q: (Josh Clipperton, Canadian Press): Last year at this time you were coming off a second-round playoff exit. I'm sure you were just decompressing from that. Life has changed drastically for you in the last year. If was wondering if you've had a chance to think about or reflect on that?

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: Yeah it's kind of probably the nature of this sport or this business where things can happen so quickly, and things can change so quickly. For sure, at the end of the season last year, I could never have imagined getting traded and being in Toronto, but now that I'm here and we're in this situation I couldn't imagine being back in Colorado and that type of thing. Things just change so quickly and whatever your current situation is becomes the new norm. I couldn't be more happy about being with the Toronto organization. I think we've got a great team; great group and I think the future is really bright here. I loved my time with Colorado, but I couldn't be happier to be with Toronto now.

Q (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): I remember talking to you at the Smashfest ping pong event last summer. After the trade you were saying you can't really know what it's like to play in Toronto; can't really prepare for it until you're in the middle of it. I'm just wondering what it was like to step into that spotlight, especially since you played US college and played in a smaller media market in Colorado.

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: Yeah, everything is amplified, for sure. There are things that are more difficult and things that are -- the highs are probably a lot higher than they are in other markets and the lows are a lot lower. You've kind of got to ride the wave. When you're winning a few games it feels like you're the best team in the League. Then you lose one and everyone wants to trade everyone, fire everyone, that type of thing. That comes with the market, it comes with how much people watch the team, how much people care about it. It's just like that in any other big market, in any other sport. I think you want to play in front of those markets. It makes it much more rewarding when you're doing well.

Q (Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun): When you look back at the first 65 games for you in a Leaf uniform, how would you sum it up? Are you happy with it? Left a little bit wanting more individually? How would you sum it up, those few months with the Leaf?

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: Yeah, I think everything was a little bit inconsistent, probably from a team standpoint to the individual standpoint. I think there were times when I was happy with my game, when I thought I was playing well. You could probably say the same thing about the team in general. I think overall it was a little bit more inconsistent than I would like and maybe I didn't contribute slash produce as much as I would have liked to. I'm still confident in myself, I think that I could still be a big part of the team, I'm excited to get back and kind of keep improving and get better and help out. I don't think I would say -- I am not overly thrilled with how things went from a personal standpoint, but I think that there are definitely things to be happy about. There are times when I was playing well. I've just got to kind of focus on what I do well and how I could bring that to the team and help the team out on a consistent basis.

Q (Jackie Spiegel, Sporting News): I was just curious if the season was technically supposed to end on April 4, if the Leafs hadn't made the playoffs, what is your normal routine once the season ends to get you back prepared for the next season?

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: That's a good question. I usually come back to Vancouver and spend the majority of my summer in Vancouver. Depending on what time the season ends, how far we go in the playoffs, that type of thing, I might my structure the beginning of the offseason a little bit differently, but generally I take a couple of weeks off, travel, see some friends, that type of thing and then come back to Vancouver, kind of start my offseason program right up from there. Start out slow, get into the gym, do some light workouts, and then as the workouts progress, kind of get into full offseason mode where I'm working out really hard, training hard. And then as that goes I progress on to the ice and start skating a couple times a week. As summer progresses, you get on the ice more and more and then towards the very end of the summer it's more on-ice and the workouts are tapered off a little bit.

Q (Jackie Spiegel, Sporting News): Where would you say you are in that training ramping up. Are you still at that high or have you come down and you have to ramp back up again now?

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: I think you have to take this like it's the offseason, and like you're preparing in any other offseason. And then I think that whenever -- at least that's my personal opinion -- but you're training like it's your regular offseason. And then if and when we do get the call that we're coming back, I think we have ample time from that standpoint to kind of progress towards full game shape, in a sense. So like if it's tomorrow that we're getting called back, we're still going to have enough time, whether that's a couple weeks, four weeks, more than that, who knows? But I think you have enough time where you have this offseason, working on getting better, getting stronger, getting in shape. Who knows when you get called, your offseason kind of gets cut there and then you can just work to get in game shape when you get out to Toronto.

Q (Jackie Spiegel, Sporting News): I was just curious your take on Auston Matthews' season -- he's so close to 50 [goals] -- just what he brought on the ice and in the locker room as well.

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: Yeah, he's incredible. I think when I was playing in Colorado I probably didn't appreciate how good he was. I think when you see him on a day-to-day basis you realize how good he is. It's not just his elite shot, his goal-scoring ability -- obviously he's going get 50 goals if we finish this season and that's a pretty special milestone -- but he does so many other things well. He's so big, he's a really good skater, good on his edges, he's able to kind of gain separation with his speed and his hands are, if not the best, up there with the top tier guys in the League. He picks up any puck wherever it is, in his zone, if it's in his feet, behind him, on his backhand, he's able to retrieve a lot of pucks. He's able to beat guys one-on-one. He really is the complete package for how big he is, how skilled he is and his play at both ends of the ice is pretty special.

Q (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): I heard some of the Leafs are doing like yoga on Instagram video or web chat Are you part of that? What is it like having a bunch of guys doing yoga in front of their phones?

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: Yeah, I have been doing it. It's great. I hadn't done much online yoga or anything like, but it's probably similar to anything like that for those people who do workout classes online or do yoga classes through an app. It's probably similar to that. You just have your camera phone open and you're able to follow along and do the exercises. Maybe it's a little bit more similar to a Peloton where it's a live experience and you've got someone running you through that class, but it's good. We only see the instructor, Randi [Milani], she's able to go through it with us and it's a good way to kind of start off your day.

Q (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): Have you done yoga before or is this a new thing that you've picked up?

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: I had done some yoga before. In college we did it once a week, as a team. Then in the summer, in the past, I've done it a little bit.

Q (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): You mentioned being a huge sports fan. It's coming up on one year of the quote unquote shot by Kawhi Leonard in the playoffs. I'm just wondering if you remember watching that game, where you were, what it was like to see it?

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: Yeah, I do remember The Shot. It was a pretty special moment. I guess it might be a little bit different for me now, I wasn't a huge Raptors fan at the time. Even though I'm Canadian, maybe that's sad to say, but living in Toronto I've kind of hopped on bandwagon a little bit. I remember that, it's a pretty special moment and it kind of kick started their playoff run. Obviously, the rest is history.

QUESTION (Luke Fox, Sportsnet.ca): You mentioned that you weren't overly thrilled with your season personally, what do you think is the biggest adjustment you had to make or the biggest challenge you faced hockey-wise going from Colorado to Toronto?

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: That's a good question. It's a tough question to answer, if I'm really going to be able to give you … I think there was just a lot that happened this year. Coming from an organization to another organization, you meet a bunch of new people, you meet a new coach, you're kind of feeling the new coach out and you get comfortable with the new coach, then the coach gets fired, then you've got a new coach come in and implementing a whole new system - you've got to get used to that. Then I had a couple of unfortunate things happen in the middle of that where I get suspended for a couple of games, I break my jaw and miss a couple of games there. I don't mean to make excuses by any means. To answer your question specifically, I think there were a lot of different things you get used to. One thing that you have to get acclimated with… just so much happened this year that there's a lot of things thrown at you and I don't know if that stuff necessarily was the reason why I didn't play up to my personal expectations or anything like that. I think at times that I was playing well, and I was happy with my game I think that it was maybe a consistency thing where that's something I can learn and I still need to get better at. You see some of the top guys in the world, they're elite every single game and maybe my elite is different than their elite - I'm never going to play as well as Matthews or someone like that - but just bringing that consistency on a daily basis is important.

QUESTION: (Luke Fox, Sportsnet.ca) How much did the suspension impact you? How did you respond emotionally, and did it get in your head a little bit?

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: It was a weird stretch there where I came back from the injury, I felt like I was playing horribly coming back from that, whatever the reasons were. Then go to Colorado and it's an emotional game, then I obviously do that to one of my good friends. I felt horrible about it. I don't think I'm that type of player or anything like that, but it was a bad play. There was no intent there or anything like that. I don't think it necessarily changed how I played or anything like that. I think that lots of things happen over the course of the season, over the course of people's careers. I felt horrible about it; I wish I could take it back, but I don't think it impacted the way I played the rest of the year. 

QUESTION: (Luke Fox, Sportsnet.ca) What have you been able to do, or what have you been reading or watching? Any new hobbies that you've devoted your time to? 

ALEXANDER KERFOOT: I've been doing lots of stuff with my siblings. Playing some board games, playing some backyard sports, which has been fun. We're all pretty competitive and pretty athletic so we like to do that type of thing. I've watched Billions and Ozark. Billions just started up the other day. I'm pretty big into that show. I just finished Ozark, which I thought was great as well. I've been reading some books. Just finished a couple of biographies, Open by Andre Agassi I thought was really good and I read Hank Haney's book on Tiger Woods. I thought those were pretty cool, pretty insightful as to how those two guys got to be so good. I've got a couple more going right now but other than that, just hanging out, cooking, making lots of meals and spending time with family.

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