Toronto Wolfpack cross the Atlantic for rugby league home opener this weekend

We’ve got tons of interest globally … And the Canadian team agreed to pay the travel and housing costs for visiting teams for all seasons until they make the Super League.A sponsorship deal with Air Transat has helped ease the travel costs for both Wolfpack and visitors.One question that will be answered this weekend is how hospitable a home Lamport Stadium can be.Built on the site of the Mercer Reformatory for Women, Canada’s first women’ prison, the 42-year-old facility located near Liberty Village is rudimentary at best. They will train at Lamport and at Fortis Fitness.The visiting teams will stay in residence at York University where they can use the gym, swimming pool, training fields and other facilities. Rugby Canada, looking to bring professional rugby here, has already held talks with the Guinness Pro12, which features teams in Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.And the NFL, among other major North American leagues, continues to test European waters.The Wolfpack already have 14,300 Twitter followers, not bad for a franchise that has been around less than a year. The Oxford contingent arrives Thursday.After Oxford (2-2-0), the Wolfpack (5-0-0) head back to England for a May 12 game at the Newcastle Thunder. The Wolfpack are trying their best to make it fan-friendly, even offering local craft beer, but it is a very basic venue.Lamport can accommodate 9,600 but Perez says not every section will be in use for the opener. Fans will see a physical, entertaining game that features big men colliding in numbers as well as elegant speed merchants looking to cut through the defence or launch themselves over the goal-line.The Wolfpack, under the leadership of young coach Paul Rowley and veteran director of rugby Brian Noble, play an exciting expansive game with captain Craig Hall, fullback Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e — known as QLT for short — and wingers Jonny Pownall and Liam Kay leading the way.On Monday, the Wolfpack announced TekSavvy as their official telecom partner with Saturday’s game billed as the TekSavvy Home Opener. “I’ve not (been to Canada) but everybody I’ve spoke to has got really rave reviews about the place,” said six-foot-four 251-pound prop Adam Sidlow, who calls Wigan home. Rhys Jacks and Tom Dempsey are so-called heritage Canadian internationals — Australians who qualify for Canada through their bloodlines.Chad Bain of Belleville, Ont., and Victoria’s Quinn Ngawati are part of the club but are seen as long-term projects who will develop their skills at rugby league academies.The Wolfpack players will be staying at George Brown College’s residence, which served as the Pan American Games athletes village. And so it goes.The Wolfpack have started in the third tier of English rugby league, looking to win promotion to the second-tier Championship and then the elite Super League.The arrival of the Toronto team was greeted by skepticism in some quarters. Or even renovating Lamport Stadium.”The plan is to use the existing Lamport artificial surface this season with a new one set to be installed next year.For the rugby league uninitiated, the learning curve of figuring out the 13-man game will be matched only by deciphering some of the Wolfpack’s northern England accents.Rugby league’s tool box contains both a sledge hammer and a delicate paint brush. “I’m really excited about it and looking forward to what you’ve got out there.”Like Sidlow, most of the 20 Wolfpack players making the trip this week have never set foot in Canada. “Everyone’s got their eyes on us. The fact is that people want to know what we’re doing. He is expecting 5,000 to 6,000 Saturday.“I’d be happy with an average of 3,000 this year,” he said of attendance.Perez is already planning for the future, saying playing in BMO Field is “possible.”“We’ve already had some talks,” he said. The logistics of playing on both sides of the Atlantic combined with the choice of rugby’s less popular code seemed a hard sell.But the squad has been a success on and off the field, at least so far in England where it has been the talk of the sport.“It’s fair to say we’re the hottest team media-wise in the world right now in rugby league,” said Wolfpack CEO Eric Perez, who has spent years planning to bring the sport to his home town. Eight games into their inaugural rugby league season, the Wolfpack arrive in Toronto on Tuesday for this weekend’s home opener.Such is the life of rugby’s first transatlantic team that Saturday’s Lamport Stadium contest is, in truth, an away game for the Wolfpack as well as visiting Oxford RLFC.Most of the Toronto players plied their trade in northern England prior to joining the Wolfpack and have remained in their homes there, commuting first to the team training centre in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, and now Canada. “Building our own stadium is also a possibility we’re looking into right now. Then it’s back to Toronto for back-to-back home games against the Barrow Raiders (also currently 5-0-0) and Coventry Bears.Two more away games then four straight at home. The Super League-leading Castleford Tigers, formed in 1926, boast 39,500 followers.On the field, the fully professional Wolfpack have been ruthless, outscoring semi-pro opponents 310-37 in its five Kingstone Press League 1 wins.Toronto beat the London Broncos, who play in the second-tier Championship, 30-26 in the knockout Ladbrokes Challenge Cup before falling 29-22 to Salford, the third-place team in the Super League, last time out.The Salford setback has been the only loss in eight league and Cup games to date.With an ownership group that includes Australian mining entrepreneur David Argyle, the Wolfpack mean business.While there was no expansion fee, the Toronto franchise paid a “good-faith” fee of 250,000 pounds ($441,115 [Canadian]) to English rugby league’s governing body. It’s the first time that has ever been done.”The New York Times’ story on the Wolfpack was headlined “For a Toronto Rugby Team, Some Games are an Ocean Away.”“Toronto Wolfpack Could Lead Rugby League Renaissance in Northern Hemisphere,” said the Sydney Morning Herald.Rugby union is watching closely. It will even be a first for American Ryan Burroughs, a Virginia native whose rugby league career has already taken him to Australia and England.Burroughs is the lone North American-born player currently listed on the Wolfpack roster.

Calgary Flames sign GM Brad Treliving to multi-year contract extension

“Today’s announcement is another step forward for our organization on that path. “We have great faith in our hockey operations structure and we look forward to continued and improved results.”The 47-year-old Treliving spent seven seasons with the Arizona Coyotes organization as vice president of hockey operations and assistant general manager prior to joining Calgary. Under Brad’s leadership, we have seen progress over the past three seasons and look forward to building on that growth in the coming years.”

The Flames have gone 125-103-18 over the last three seasons and finished the 2016-17 campaign with a 45-33-4 record and the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.Treliving hired Glen Gulutzan as Calgary’s head coach in June 2016 after firing Bob Hartley.“Brad has done a good job in leading our club and has clearly earned this reward,” Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation president Ken King said. The Calgary Flames have signed general manager Brad Treliving to a multi-year contract extension.Treliving has served as Flames GM since April 2014 and Calgary has reached the playoffs twice under his tenure, including this season when they were swept in the first round by the Anaheim Ducks.“We are striving to create a level of continuity and stability, as all successful teams do,” Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke said in a statement.

Down against the Sens, the Rangers hope home is where the spark is

If only it were that simple – press “delete,” start over.The oddity is that under the old playoff format, those first two games would have been played at Madison Square Garden rather than the Canadian Tire Centre. It will be a checkers match.”There will almost certainly be much closer checking Tuesday night than there was on Saturday, as there is nothing that so bothers Boucher, if not Vigneault as well, as a loose game in which players rely on instinct rather than instruction.While it is unlikely another 11 goals will be scored, it is entirely possible that overtime may once again rule. No wonder Ranger after Ranger spoke so warmly of the Garden and its raucous fans. Such resolve.Over on the Senators’ side, the master of reverse psychology, head coach Guy Boucher – who actually holds a master’s degree in sports psychology – seemed to be trying to convince reporters that his team was actually down two games to none against the steamrolling Rangers.He talked about his players’ “resilience,” about their “fighting back,” about how they had used the first down day in New York for “reloading emotionally.”Having previously used the self-applied “underdog” tag to fire up his team, the reverse psychologist wanted it known that, on paper, the Senators hardly have a prayer.“First off, they have more than 1,000 games experience in the playoffs,” he said of the mighty Rangers. The Rangers had finished the regular season with 102 points, the Senators with 98, but since the Senators stood second in their division and the Rangers fourth in their much stronger division, home ice, along with whatever advantages it might hold, fell first to the Senators. We need to be the team that makes that one extra defensive play and that one more offensive play that pays off.”If that doesn’t work, it may require another meeting.And a larger eraser. “Maybe I’m going to put a checker on their checker,” he told a Sunday conference call, “because he’s supposed to be their checker and he got four goals.”“He’s going to check my checkers, I’m going to check his checkers,” Boucher shot back in a separate gathering with the media. Defenceman Brendan Smith talked about how chills run up and down his back during the anthem. “I got it worked on,” he told reporters in New York, “and it’s literally not an issue at all.”Boucher did turn positive when the subject switched from the Rangers to Jean-Gabriel Pageau, the centre from just across the Ottawa River who tied the game in the dying moments with his third goal of the night, a hat trick, then won the game with his fourth on a night that Ottawa fans are not likely to forget.Pageau, Boucher said, is “the perfect soldier … a do-it-all guy … a jack of all trades.” He never complains, never says “but,” just goes about his business – which, most other nights, is not about goal scoring at all but about shutting down players such as Nash, who have bigger reputations for scoring.“You just ask him what you need and he’s going to do it,” Boucher said.“Maybe I should ask for more goals.”Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault was equally impressed by Pageau’s performance – and rather surprised. Centre Derek Stepan said the fans there “seem to spark us.”“Hopefully,” goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said, “we can find a way to get the first one at home and take it from there.”“The nice thing about a race for four,” Stepan added, “is you can lose the first two and still get it done.”Such optimism. The New York Rangers held a meeting, Rick Nash said, and “tried to erase everything that happened.”The big Rangers forward was speaking in New York Monday morning of the first two games of the Eastern Conference semi-final, in which Ottawa had taken a surprising, if not commanding, two-games-to-none lead after Saturday’s wild double-overtime 6-5 victory. “Which is more than double what we’ve got.”One Senator with valuable playoff experience is Clarke MacArthur, the overtime hero in the series against the Boston Bruins. “I guess it won’t be a chess match. The problem, he said Monday, was a pinched nerve. Saturday’s long game in Ottawa marked the fifth time in the postseason that Senators games have gone to extra time – a total of seven extra periods of hockey in only eight matches.Many years ago, the brilliant Harry Neale once found his Vancouver Canucks so caught up in a string of overtimes that he suggested, tongue in cheek, that perhaps the league should consider getting rid of regulation time.So tight were the first two games in this series, both decided by a single goal, that Vigneault said the margin of error or victory is almost negligible.“So far,” he told reporters after the Rangers skate, “they’ve made one more defensive play, one more offensive play in each game and that’s why they’re up 2-0. MacArthur left Saturday’s game after a collision in the early going and did not return, leading to speculation that concussion symptoms – which cost him most of the past two seasons – might have returned.MacArthur will dress and play Tuesday, however.

No luck for Raptors in Game 1 against fresh-faced Cavaliers

That’s been our mantra. It would be the only Toronto lead of the night.The Cavs certainly didn’t look rusty from the layoff. No such luck.Instead, LeBron James went off for 35 points, while Kyrie Irving chipped in 24 as the reigning NBA champs beat the Raptors 116-105 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final series. DeMarre Carroll, as in last year’s Eastern Conference finals, was tasked with starting on James.Lowry hit the first bucket of the night – a pristine three-pointer. The city seemed to still be basking in the glory of its first championship in 52 years.Inside at game time, the crowd wore gold T-shirts and took a fan-centric vow to “obey the laws of ‘The Land.’” The team’s dramatic pregame video on the jumbotron showed highlight reel clips of James and simultaneously shot fireworks out the sides of the screen, making it look like The King could fire lightning bolts from his super-human body.The Raptors returned to their usual starting lineup with Jonas Valanciunas at the centre spot to handle big man Tristan Thompson. “We know they’re going to be a high-flying team, up and down, shoot the ball well at home. The Raps narrowed Cleveland’s lead down to five points, but the Cavs kicked it up again behind offence from James and Kyle Korver. Kyle Lowry led Toronto with 20 points, while DeMar DeRozan had 19 and Serge Ibaka added 15. Powell had fine offensive moments, too.Still, Toronto couldn’t score fast enough to keep up with what Cleveland was producing. Still, the Raps’ Game 1 franchise record fell to 1-12.“We already got that foot in the hole,” said DeRozan of his team’s tendency to have slow series starts. Irving and Kevin Love were swooshing threes, as was J.R. When James wasn’t scoring himself, he was playing the role of point guard or dishing out perfect no-look passes. In addition to chasing around the NBA’s best player, Tucker also had 13 points. “I’m not a beer guy…if she’d had a red wine, I would have probably taken a sip.”When asked whether the beer bottle stunt or the gimmicky backboard alley-oop dunk were a little cheeky for a playoff game, both Lowry and DeRozan declined to comment.The Cavs record in Eastern Conference playoff games since James returned to Cleveland has now swelled to 29-4.The series continues in Cleveland this week with Game 2 on Wednesday. We did it all year. The adoring Cleveland fans laughed uproariously at their King’s antics.“I was just in the moment. Smith, with his signature cocky holstering of smoking finger guns. He played the role of entertainer to the max. The Cavs outscored the Raps 30-18 in the first.Toronto answered with an offensive run to start the second, thanks to big buckets from Lowry, DeRozan and Ibaka, who was making his first appearance against Cleveland as a Raptor. At one time in the heat of play, he ran into a court-side server delivering drinks and playfully grabbed a beer bottle out of her hand. But we’ve got to find a way to not let them get going and get everyone involved, and getting the crowd involved.”P.J Tucker took his turn guarding James as well – the other newcomer brought to Toronto to handle playoff opponents such as Cleveland. By half-time, it was 62-48.“They get big spurts, and we fight back, and they do another big spurt. Toronto Raptors fans might have been hoping for a Cleveland Cavaliers team rusty from too much rest or underperforming like they had down the stretch of the regular season. We’ve gotta find ways to limit the spurts,” said Lowry. James racked up nine fast points by dicing to the hoop every which way – like nabbing a lob off the backboard from Irving with one hand and dunking it. So it’s something that we’re going to have to exploit next game.”The Raptors came into the game on a few days rest after eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, but it was nothing like the eight days off the Cavaliers had earned by sweeping the Indiana Pacers.The exterior of the Quicken Loans Arena was wrapped in enormous, eye-popping wine and gold posters touting Cleveland’s 2016 NBA Championship and vowing to “Defend The Land.” Around town, everyone from sandwich makers to Starbucks baristas was decked out in Cavs gear, while buses drove the streets with “GO CAVS!” flashing on their LED signs. “And that’s when we kick in and understand we fight well under adversity. Norman Powell – who had started the last few games of the Milwaukee series – was to come off the bench this time. I don’t plan for things like that,” said James.

With rare two-RBI sacrifice fly, Goins lifts Jays over Yankees

The current Yankee Stadium opened in 2009. In the sixth, after an apparent twinge drew attention, Severino started ambling toward the Yankees dugout when Luke Maile hit a fly for the second out.Severino realized his mistake, got back on the mound and Coghlan hit the next pitch into the right-field seats. Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer for his 34th career shot off the Yankees, moving past Evan Longoria for most among active players. Showing he’s more than a slugger, Judge also threw out a runner at third.Coming off three straight sharp starts, Severino seemed headed in the wrong direction from the outset.In the first, he began walking toward the Toronto dugout when Smoak lofted a routine fly for the third out. That really was the end for Severino. Chris Coghlan also homered for Toronto.Still missing injured stars Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki, the Blue Jays kept up their success against the Yankees, beating them for the 11th time in the last 16 meetings and outscoring them 82-44 in that span.Estrada (1-1) pitched seven fine innings in his sixth start of the season. 20, 2004, against Toronto in a game moved to accommodate a makeup date. Ellsbury fell to the warning track and, staggered, made a short toss over the head of 6-foot-7 right fielder Aaron Judge, who was backing up the play.Travis alertly tagged up and scored from second behind Smoak without a throw. Ellsbury didn’t need assistance and stayed in the game.Judge lined a single for the Yankees’ run. In the sixth, he came up after Justin Smoak led off with a single and Devon Travis doubled.Goins hit a long fly that centre fielder Jacoby Ellsbury caught as he ran face-first into the padded wall. Ryan Goins hit a two-run sacrifice fly, the first in Toronto’s 40-year history, to go along with a two-run homer that led Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays over the New York Yankees 7-1 Monday night for their season-high third straight win.The crowd of 25,566 was the smallest for a Yankees home game since Sept. He gave up one run on seven hits without a walk, striking out five.Luis Severino (2-2) was hit hard and left in the sixth, shortly after manager Joe Girardi and a trainer checked him for an apparent injury.Goins, who began the day with four RBIs this season, homered in the second.

Shattenkirk nets overtime goal to push Capitals to victory over Penguins

… Pittsburgh F Conor Sheary left in the second period after colliding with teammate Patric Hornqvist and did not return. High hits. Crosby was in the middle of an MVP run on Jan., 1, 2011, when he took an elbow to the head from Washington’s David Steckel during the Winter Classic, leading to a concussion that cost Crosby the better part of two years in his prime as he struggled to recover.Their captain gone for the rest of the game and perhaps longer, the Penguins appeared momentarily dazed as they tried to regroup.In the interim, the Capitals took the lead, getting the fortunate bounce that eluded them on home ice when Backstrom’s centring pass during a 5-on-3 power play caromed off Pittsburgh defenceman Ian Cole and by Fleury 13:05 into the first.Pittsburgh appeared to tie it 1:05 into the second when Chris Kunitz deflected a puck by Holtby just before the net came off its moorings. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. … The play was upheld under review, only to be overturned due to goaltender interference following a challenge by Capitals coach Barry Trotz.It was symbolic of a static and occasionally ugly three periods that lacked the pace of the opening two games in Washington.Late hit. Schultz tied it 48 seconds later when his blast from the point deflected off Washington’s T.J. With one illegal and ugly shove changing the tenor of the series and perhaps the rest of the post-season.The game was scoreless just over 5 minutes into the first period when Crosby skated just outside the Capitals’ crease. The lead vanished in the final two minutes of the third when Evgeni Malkin and Justin Schultz scored in a 48-second span to force overtime.The Capitals controlled the extra period and avoided a 3-0 hole against the defending Stanley Cup champions.Braden Holtby stopped 28 shots for Washington after getting pulled in his previous start. Penguins G Matt Murray is skating, but there is no timetable for his return to practice. Murray suffered a lower-body injury during warmups before Game 1 of Pittsburgh’s first-round series against Columbus. Slashes.The teams that finished the regular season atop the league standings played at times as if they were more intent on settling scores than trying to score.Holtby, yanked after a sloppy second period in Game 2, remained steady during Pittsburgh’s second-period surge and the Capitals appeared to be in control when the Penguins pulled Fleury with 3 minutes to go.Then Malkin scored his fifth goal of the playoffs by Holtby with 1:53 to go. Washington’s Alex Ovechkin slashed Crosby along the upper body and Crosby slid awkwardly trying to maintain his balance when he collided with Niskanen, who had his stick raised.The stick caught Crosby flush across the mouth and the two-time Hart Trophy winner laid on the ice in pain for several moments before slowly skating off the ice under his own power as Pittsburgh trainers searched the area for Crosby’s teeth.Niskanen, who played four seasons in Pittsburgh with Crosby before signing with Washington in 2014, earned a major penalty for cross-checking and was given a game misconduct.This wasn’t the first time Crosby took an ugly shot to the head from a Capital. The Penguins were 0 for 5. Kevin Shattenkirk scored 3:13 into overtime and the Washington Capitals overcame a late collapse in regulation to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on Monday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.Washington drew within 2-1 in the series when Shattenkirk’s shot from the point zipped by Marc-Andre Fleury’s blocker. The Penguins played most of the game without star Sidney Crosby, who left in the first period after taking a hit to the head from Capitals defenceman Matt Niskanen.Washington appeared to be in control thanks to goals by Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetzov. … Fleury finished with 30 saves for Pittsburgh.The Capitals held a team meeting following an ugly 6-2 loss in Game 2, a setback that dropped the Presidents’ Trophy winners into a 2-0 hole against their frequent playoff tormentors and stirred echoes of a series of playoff meltdowns since the franchise broke into the league 43 years ago.Faced with being pushed to the brink of elimination, Washington pushed back. Oshie and by Holtby.NOTES: The Capitals went 2 for 5 on the power play. Washington D Karl Alzner played 21:34 after returning from a six-game absence because of a groin injury.

Penguins star Sidney Crosby diagnosed with concussion, out for Game 4

The Capitals survived when Kevin Shattenkirk flipped a shot from the point by Fleury 3:13 into overtime.Washington expects Pittsburgh to ramp up the physical play in Game 4 even as Fleury warned about the dangers of trying to retaliate. “We need other guys to step up and we’ve been doing that all year.”The stakes, however, are high. Niskanen said following the game the hit was not intentional, with coach Barry Trotz calling it “a hockey play.”The Penguins opted against trying to litigate the fallout, focusing instead on Crosby’s well-being.“My thoughts don’t really matter,” said Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury , teammates with Crosby for over a decade. Sidney Crosby walked around the Pittsburgh Penguins practice facility on Tuesday, trying to encourage his teammates as they prepared to go forward in their increasingly caustic playoff series against Washington without their captain and the game’s most indispensable player.The Pittsburgh star is out for Wednesday’s Game 4 while recovering from yet another concussion, this one coming from being cross-checked in the head by Capitals defenceman Matt Niskanen in the first period of Washington’s 3-2 overtime victory on Monday night. Hard hits. Washington controlled Game 3 before the Penguins scored twice in the final 2 minutes to force overtime. Niskanen’s stick caught Crosby flush across the right side of the head and the defenceman kept his hands on Crosby as the star fell to the ice before skating away. Doesn’t matter what I say. Niskanen received a five-minute major and a game misconduct.The league decided against holding a hearing to determine whether the hit should be subject to review from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. He scored twice in Game 1 and dished out a pair of assists in a blowout victory in Game 2 to give Pittsburgh control in a meeting of the longtime rivals who finished the regular season with the two best records in the NHL.All that momentum vanished 5:24 into the first period Monday when Crosby was knocked off balance by Washington’s Alex Ovechkin as Crosby skated in front of the Capitals’ crease.Niskanen, who played with Crosby for four years in Pittsburgh before signing with Washington in 2014, turned toward Crosby. Sheary’s status for Game 4 was uncertain. That’s the way we like to play. That’s the way they like to play. Pittsburgh posted the second-best record in franchise history with defenceman Kris Letang missing half the season various injuries, centre Evgeni Malkin sitting 20 games with various issues and goaltender Matt Murray going out before Game 1 of Pittsburgh’s first-round series against Columbus after tweaking a lower-body injury.“If Sid is not playing … it’s a loss for us,” Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist said. There is no timetable for the two-time MVP’s return.“He’s very positive and we’re very optimistic and we’re hopeful that we’ll get him back in a timely fashion,” Sullivan said.The defending Stanley Cup champions lead the series 2-1, an advantage they built thanks in large part to Crosby. He missed the first couple weeks of this season with a concussion but returned to lead the NHL in goals, part of a remarkable run that saw him lead the Penguins to the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup last summer while earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.The Penguins have become adept at surviving the loss of bold-faced names this season. The Capitals insist they’ll be ready.“It should be nasty,” Washington forward Jay Beagle said. I really hope that Sid feels good.”Crosby has dealt with multiple concussions during his career, including one against Washington in the 2011 Winter Classic that he needed nearly two years to fully recover from. “It doesn’t change anything. Going after each other.”Pittsburgh forward Conor Sheary is also dealing with a concussion after colliding with teammate Patric Hornqvist in the second period Monday night. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby will be evaluated on a daily basis going forward. “It’s the playoffs. Crosby was on the ice for several minutes before slowly making his way to the dressing room under his own power.

Leafs sign Nikita Zaitsev to seven-year deal at $4.5-million per season

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed defenceman Nikita Zaitsev to a seven-year contract extension.The deal carries an annual average value of $4.5-million (U.S.) per season and will keep the Russian blueliner locked up through the 2023-24 campaign.The 25-year-old Zaitsev had a breakout rookie season with the Leafs in 2016-17, registering 36 points (four goals, 32 assists) in 82 games and leading Toronto players with an average of just over 22 minutes of ice time per game. The Moscow native also appeared in four playoff contests with Toronto after missing the first two games of the Leafs’ first-round series with Washington with an upper-body injury.Prior to coming to Toronto, Zaitsev skated in 317 regular season games in the Kontinental Hockey League with Sibir Novosibirsk and CSKA Moscow, registering 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists).He also collected two assists in four games with Russia at the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.The Leafs also announced a one-year deal with forward Ben Smith worth $650,000.The 28-year-old Smith had four points (two goals, two assists) in 36 games with the Maple Leafs last season after being claimed off waivers from Colorado.