Ryan Reaves gave his teammates interesting gifts to spark the comeback

Dean Chaudhry
May 4, 2024  (5:21 PM)

Ryan Reaves warming up ahead of a game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Photo credit: David Banks - USA Today Sports

Ryan Reaves might not be an every day player on the ice but he is a key component in the locker room and has played a key role in the Leafs' comeback to force Game 7.

Reaves might not be the most prolific player on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster but he plays a role that goes well beyond on-ice production. Acquired this summer to drop the gloves, finish checks, and bring about an intimidating factor on the ice, Reaves has kept things light in the locker room, perhaps at times when things could have fallen apart like in year's past.
The 37-year-old veteran was one of the few players made available to media after their disastrous 5-1 loss in Game 1. Reaves quoted the Lion King's famous catchphrase "Hakuna Matata" which meant "no worries for the rest of your days". Only a few days later, he gifted all of his teammates t-shirts with "Hakuna Matata" front and centre:
"The boys have had those since Game 3," Reaves said. "I got a bunch of them made for the boys."
Reaves was made a healthy scratch ahead of Game 6 with the Leafs season on the line and Auston Matthews absent yet again. Despite playing in the previous 5 games, where he logged an assist and 26 hits in 7:52 ATOI, Sheldon Keefe replaced him with Noah Gregor to get more fresh legs into the lineup.
His exclusion from the lineup didn't dampen his spirits as he was a locker room presence all throughout Game 6, whether it was during pre-game warmups or during intermissions:
"When I don't play in the playoffs I usually do that," Reaves explained. "You can't win with 20 guys. There's going to be guys that come in and out of the lineup. For the guys that do not play, do whatever you can to contribute.
"If I'm not playing, the least I can do is bring some energy to the boys."
His infectious energy might have had a lot to do with their Game 6 effort as they once again dominated and controlled most of the game before dispatching the Bruins by a score of 2-1. Heading into Game 7 tonight, I'm sure Reaves will be back at again whether he's in the lineup or not.
Source: The Hockey News
'The Boys Have Had Those Since Game 3': Ryan Reaves Created 'Hakuna Matata' Shirts For His Maple Leafs Teammates After Dropping the Quote Earlier in the Series With Bruins
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Ryan Reaves gave his teammates interesting gifts to spark the comeback

Will the Maple Leafs pull off the comeback tonight?

Yes, they have nothing to lose12924.2 %
No, Bruins will be the hungrier team40475.8 %
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