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Roommates at the Sochi Olympics and teammates

  • December 14, 2017 5:23 PM IST

    Restricted free agent centre Nazem Kadri is still in a holding pattern in contract talks with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the 22-year-old centre may be feeling the pinch. Sam Mills Jersey . Working out at the teams practice facility in Mississauga on Tuesday, Kadri told reporters that talks over a new deal are weighing heavier on his mind as training camp draws closer. "The closer it comes to training camp, it becomes more and more of a distraction," Kadri said. "That said, Im being more than reasonable. Right now, its their decision to make." Kadri, who had no arbitration rights after completing his entry-level deal in June, was second in team scoring with 44 points in 48 games last season. The Maple Leafs have been at a standstill with Kadri and fellow RFA Cody Franson as both players could be seeking bigger contracts while the team has just under $5 million in cap space. By comparison, Carolinas Jeff Skinner, New York Islanders centre John Tavares and Edmontons Taylor Hall landed big contracts out of their entry-level deals and Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog got one last week - a seven-year $39 million contract extension. "I know Im being pretty reasonable, taking all that cap into consideration when really, thats not my job," told reporters. "I did my work over these past three years. I did exactly what they told me, trying to be the player they want me to be. I think Im well on my way. "Ive got 100 games in this league. I dont think thats a little. I understand youve got to play 82 games. Im becoming more mature and every year its getting easier." Files from The Toronto Star and Toronto Sun were used for this report. Harrison Butker Jersey . Rajon Rondo had 18 of Bostons season-high 38 assists and the Celtics committed just seven turnovers in a 118-111 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. Julius Peppers Jersey . Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves to backstop the Penguins to a 2-1 victory over the Flames, handing Calgary its team record sixth consecutive home regulation loss.LONDON, Ont. - Petri Kontiola doesnt remember his last NHL game. Its been a long time since I played last time, he says. Long, indeed. Picked with the 196th overall selection by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2004, Kontiola hadnt suited up in any NHL game of any kind in more than six years – Mar. 2nd, 2008. He had an assist that night – his 12th career game – in a 4-1 win over the Canucks. It could stand as the final point he ever registers as an NHL player. Or not. Now clocked in at 29 years of age, wiser and more mature, the Finnish forward is giving it one final shot to make it back to the league. Its probably his last chance to try and make it, Leo Komarov, his teammate both internationally and now here in Toronto, said. Wedged in the depths of a Blackhawks organization that was soon to pop Kontiola left North America for the Kontinental Hockey League after the 2008-09 season. He hadnt played a game with the NHL club that year - Chicago was led by an emerging Jonathan Toews – and toiled instead between AHL stops in Rockford and Iowa. It appeared his NHL dreams were over. He took his career to the steel town of Magnitogorsk for two seasons before landing in Chelyabinsk, just north of the Russian border with Kazakhstan. Kontiola played there for the next three campaigns, leading the team with 37 points in 53 games last season. But after a sneaky bronze-medal run with the Finnish Olympic team in February, his thoughts began to drift back to the league he had left in such disappointing fashion. I was just like a young kid at that time, he says. Now maybe five years later Im more ready. Gambling that that was indeed the case, Kontiola put up more than half a million of his own money to get out of his contract with Chelyabinsk. Toronto signed him for one year at $1.5 million, offering him one last chance to re-imagine his NHL dream. And so hes back now giving it another go. I think Im at that age that its either now or never, Kontiola said of the decision to return. Thats why. Hell be in tough to make the team. Given the glut of forwards at training camp theres not a whole lot of room for error. Kontiola is the only waiver-exempt forward competing for an NHL job in Toronto, but a trip to the Marlies is unlikely if he fails to crack the Leafs lineup. Scott Simonson Jersey. Hes shown that when he plays with good players he can find people the puck, said head coach, Randy Carlyle. The question will be the pace of the game; can he perform at a higher level? Exhibition games are going to be harder than the scrimmages that we were participating in. Kontiola, who can play both wing and centre, doesnt appear the fleetest of foot and that, it appears, will be the biggest question of him in the days ahead. Can he continue to create offensively at NHL speeds? Carlyle wouldnt say that Kontiola needed to win a job in an offensive capacity, but with six players essentially competing for four spots on the second and third lines he will have to make some kind of offensive impression during the exhibition schedule. I think he needs to be an NHL quality player, Carlyle said, noting a high hockey IQ. Roommates at the Sochi Olympics and teammates through a number of World Championships, including Belarus in 2014, Komarov invited Kontiola to live with him upon his arrival to the city a couple weeks back. He had similar help from the former Leafs tag-team of Mikhail Grabovski and Nik Kulemin when he first landed here in 2013. Im showing him the city and how to drive to the MCC and stuff like that, Komarov said with a smirk. A Leaf draft pick in 2006, Komarov made a similar leap to North America in the lockout-shortened campaign, but unlike Kontiola had never played in the NHL at any point. He excelled in 42 games and after a brief return to Moscow Dynamo last season, returned to the Leafs. Hes intent on making sure his countryman undergoes a quick adjustment, also hopeful of having a familiar face around. He likes to get the puck and make plays, Komarov said, opposing Kontiola in the KHL last season. I hope hes gonna make the team and have a good season. Kontiola admitted to a few nerves ahead of his exhibition debut from London on Monday. Long-legged with an almost choppy stride, he teamed mostly with Carter Ashton and Tyler Biggs, killed a few penalties, set up on the power-play, but managed little offensively. His chase for the NHL though is underway. Last time I was here it didnt go that well, he said. 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