Mitch Marner among a large group of Leafs who takes part in the team's favourite road trip activity
Photo credit: NHL

Leafs' number one pastime during road trips is competitive and sounds like a blast

Published January 2, 2024 at 11:14

Road trips, especially longer ones, can be daunting for sure. For the Leafs, though, they try to make the most of it with several different pastimes - one of which is particularly raucous.

As the Leafs embark on a Western road trip this week, with stops in Los Angeles tonight, Anaheim tomorrow and San Jose on Saturday, the players have quite a few different ways to kill the time. Some listen to podcasts, some catch up on their reading or their sleep, but for a large group of Leafs who occupy the middle of the plane, it's Texas Hold'em that not only helps to pass the time - the players actually look forward to it.

As far as the participants go, the occupants of the eight seats at the middle of the plane are Ilya Samsonov, Mitch Marner, T.J. Brodie, Morgan Rielly, Jake McCabe, Ryan Reaves, Mark Giordano and Tyler Bertuzzi.

Rielly, the longest-tenured member of the team, revealed that the games have been going on longer than he's been with the team. As one of the team's leaders, Rielly has been influential in continuing the tradition. When pressed for some information on who the best players are, Rielly kept it pretty tongue-in-cheek, but did reveal the following:

"There's a couple good players, a bunch of medium playersand then two or three bad players, so, those are the ones who you're more afraid of." - Rielly on the competitive poker games

Fellow defenseman Jake McCabe was much more amenable to revealing some additional information about his competitors.

"Mitch is nice and patient, he plays his good hands. (Samsonov), I never know what I'm gonna get from Sammy. He's won a lot of big hands this year. I'll have a Queen kicker, and he'll have a King kicker.

I'm not being patient enough. I'm playing too often. I like to see the cards. I like the action." - McCabe on his biggest competition

Ryan Reaves is probably the one whom many would assume is the loudest at the table on any given day, but David Kampf suggests that Mitch Marner is the loudest player, bar none.

For Reaves, he revealed this week that he has never been on a team who has a consistent poker group, so he's enjoyed being a part of this group. Reaves calls these games a "rollercoaster". If you've ever played poker, you'll fully understand what he means by that.

"It's been a rollercoaster for everybody, to be honest. Poker is usually my playoff game, when you stay in a city and you have a common room and play on days off or after games." - Reaves on the team's favourite pastime

As far as who is winning the most, Reaves suggested that it's either Samsonov or McCabe, though McCabe doesn't feel as though he's done particularly well this year. I suppose that means Samsonov was the team's top dog. However, now that Samsonov has passed through waivers and remains in Toronto, it looks like there will be a pretty big seat open at the table on this week's road trip through California.

January 2   |   344 answers
Leafs' number one pastime during road trips is competitive and sounds like a blast

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