The Maple Leafs’ seven-day break between games in mid-December was highly irregular, but despite wishing for a more regular (read: shorter) break from game action, Buds players aimed to make the most of their down time. And the way they use that free time is as varied as the team itself.
Here’s a selection of Leafs discussing what they enjoy doing away from the rink, and what they’ll be doing – time permitting – until Tuesday’s game against Tampa Bay:
Tyler Bozak, centre: I just had a son, so it’s nice, we’re home for a week here. We’ve been on the road a lot and it’s tough being away. So it’s going to be fun to spend time with him, and that’s probably what I’ll be doing with the majority of my time.
Garret Sparks, goalie: I just go home, watch TV, hang out with my buddies. I like music a lot, I’ll go check out the music blogs. I have my own side business – my goalie camps – so a lot of my spare time goes into those. But my musical tastes are wide variety: classical rock, alternative 90s, alternative 2000s, modern EDM – anything but top 40 and country on certain occasions.
In terms of TV, I like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia a lot. Love that. The League’s good, Rick and Morty’s great.
Brad Boyes, winger: After practice, I’ll essentially go home and play with the kids. But when I’m home, it’s pretty busy. In terms of shows, I’m watching Hell on Wheels right now, I went through Suits. I watch a lot on the plane and stuff on the road. I’ve seen a lot of shows. I finished Mad Men this year. It was good. Game of Thrones was awesome. At home, it’s tough to watch anything, because we don’t have a lot of time. But if I do watch shows with my wife, I’ll watch something like Survivor. And Christmas stuff now. And if football’s on, I’ll try and watch it when I’m allowed. (laughs)
Morgan Rielly, defenseman: At home I’ll watch movies or read a little bit, anything that just takes your mind somewhere else and just lets you relax a little bit. Play video games, just average stuff 21-year-olds do. I just watched Bloodline. It was good, I liked that one. I like Ray Donovan. I liked True Detective – this season was OK, but the first one was good. Breaking Bad, anything that’s, like, drama. Those lighthearted comedies are good every once in a while, but I can’t binge-watch The Big Bang Theory.
And I just read a book called The Boys in The Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics. It’s about a rowing team, but I can’t spoil it for you. But it’s good.
Shawn Matthias, winger: I think you catch up with a little bit of TV in your down time, but for me, I live with my girlfriend, and we have a dog that just had surgery, so we’ll be rehabbing the dog, and we both play music, so maybe some guitar lessons or something like that. We have a black Labrador puppy, so we’re still training him. For the week we’re home, I’ve got to take care of him more than I would normally.
I’ve played guitar for a while, and I had Frankie Corrado over the other day, and we were jamming together. And a good buddy of mine is a pretty amazing musician, and we get together and jam quite a bit. It’s something I’m trying to get better at, but it’s a work in progress. I like to play a lot of Led Zeppelin, but at the same time, I like laid-back stuff like Jack Johnson.
Frank Corrado, defenseman: I play the guitar, I have a drum set, but I don’t really play that much anymore. But I have 10 guitars, and I used to play a lot more with other people as a kid, but that’s always a good getaway for me. I just go online, look up a new song, and try and learn it and play it.
My favorite music to play is more like the old-school, classic rock stuff. Led Zeppelin, or something like that. Jimmy Page would be my favorite guitarist, for sure.
Nazem Kadri, centre: I’ll just hang out with the guys, try to blow off some steam, have somewhat of a life away from hockey. And just rest up and try and get your body right in order to perform next week. I love TV, I love music, and if it’s a nice day outside, I’ll spend the day outside and take in some fresh air. There’s a lot of things to do around the city of Toronto, and that’s why we love it here.
With music, I’m listening mostly (to) hip-hop, the whole Drake/Jay Z/Kendrick Lamar type thing.
P-A Parenteau, winger: I’m a kids guy these days. I wish I was a movies guy. (Laughs) I have a six-year-old girl and my little boy is two. So it’ll be family time, and it’s fun. It doesn’t happen very often that we don’t have games like this, but we’ll try to take advantage.
We’ve been everywhere as a family around the city already, but it’s Christmas, so we’ll probably see Santa Claus and do some shopping. We’ve been to the Science Centre, to the (Ripley’s) Aquarium, to the Zoo.
Roman Polak, defenseman: I just try to spend my time with the family when I can. So we just go home and play with the kids, and when it’s nice outside, we’re going out. But nothing complicated – no movies, there’s no time for dinner with my wife.
My little girl is three-and-a-half, and my boy is five months old. We’ve gone to the little train park at the Steam Whistle and have a little ride on the trains. And the Aquarium is great, too – my daughter loved it, so we’re going there a lot.
Jake Gardiner, defenseman: I love movies and TV shows and watch a lot of both. I watched The Hunger Games recently. I’m excited for Game of Thrones to come back, that’s a good one. I just watched Vikings and enjoyed it.
Music-wise, we’ve went to see The Weeknd recently, saw Justin Bieber, and Kenny Chesney.
Byron Froese, forward: I’m a games guy, I guess. Me and my wife usually play a lot of games. And during the holidays, we do a little puzzling, too. I feel like an old person saying that, but it’s a fun thing. I’ll play any card games, really. Euchre, that type of thing.
Peter Holland, centre: I’m a bit of a TV show guy. I watch Ray Donovan, Banshee, but I haven’t really gotten into anything recently. I just like to chill, hang with friends and guys on the team, and kick back and relax. Everyone’s kind of got their own little thing.
Some guys may just go to their room and watch a TV show; if one or two guys may rent a movie or go to the movies; when we had a day off in St. Louis recently, Froese, Hunwick, myself, and Corrado, we went to the arch there and did a bit of the tourist thing. Everybody’s different.