It’s on the Maple Leafs’ stars to lead, and past due that the effort matched …

first_img Auston Matthews Maple Leafs Mike Babcock 2 A few weeks ago — the morning of the Maple Leafs’ second home game, to be precise — coach Mike Babcock discussed the importance of depth on the roster.“The more depth you have and the deeper you are down your lineup and the more people you can roll out night after night, you can win night after night,” Babcock said on Oct. 5, hours before the Leafs played host to the Montreal Canadiens and lost in a shootout. “If you only have a few stars, you can’t win night after night. Now they get points, but you go home disappointed a lot. You need team depth.”We can presume that Babcock figured then that his stars, specifically Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, captain John Tavares, William Nylander and defenceman Morgan Rielly, would shine. Ditto for those who occupy the next level, including Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson.Through 11 games, most of this group has recorded the points Babcock was talking about. Marner has 12 points. Matthews and Rielly have 11, and Matthews’ eight goals were third-most in the National Hockey League prior to games on Wednesday.It’s all a bit hollow though, eh?The Leafs head into a home game against the San Jose Sharks (with whom Patrick Marleau is making a difference, ironically, after not doing that for Toronto last season) on Friday night with a mediocre record of 5-4-2.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Of those losses, four have been by one goal, including the shootout loss to the Canadiens and the fall in overtime against Columbus on Monday.The Leafs haven’t been held back in the win column because they lack depth. They have plenty of solid role players. No one who has watched Toronto through the first three weeks would argue that players such as Alex Kerfoot, Ilya Mikheyev, Trevor Moore, Frederik Gauthier and Dmytro Timashov have mailed in many shifts.Some of what Babcock says has the tendency to drive segments of Leafs Nation up the wall — such as insisting after the loss in Boston that he liked the team’s effort — and with each loss, there is increased braying for his firing.But when Babcock said in Boston that the Leafs’ dominant players have to be the dominant players, those in the group of reporters nodded in agreement.The Leafs haven’t been getting that kind of consistency from players such as Marner, the highest-paid performer in the NHL this season with a salary of $16-million US, or from Matthews, tied with Tavares for  the second-highest paid at $15.9-million.There shouldn’t be any extra motivation when the money is rolling in at the age of 22, like it is for Marner and Matthews. As much as it’s on Babcock to get the most out of a roster that has an abundance of talent, there’s absolutely no reason for Marner and Matthews to not be completely invested every time they go over the boards.The absences of Zach Hyman and Travis Dermott to injury have hurt, and losing Tavares for a stretch is painful.Hyman is vital with Tavares and Marner, leaving a hole that has not been properly filled. With Dermott out, the Leafs have had an unsettled third pair, not that the top four of Rielly-Cody Ceci and Jake Muzzin-Tyson Barrie has been spectacular.We understand that a team that has as many new players as the Leafs will take some time to learn who fits best where, etc.This is a club that could help itself immediately, however, with full determination every time the puck is dropped.That starts with the Leafs’ stars.It’s great that Matthews, who has spoken more like a captain this season than he has in his previous three years in the NHL, said on Tuesday night that everyone, including himself, has to be better.Go do it, then. Back up the words.If the work matches the talent, Babcock just might see the season through.SUPPORT FOR HUTCHINSON HAS BEEN LACKINGMichael Hutchinson hasn’t been getting much help from his Maple Leafs teammates.The Leafs’ backup goalie has faced an average of 37.7 shots a game in his three starts, while No. 1 netminder Frederik Andersen has faced an average of 31.6 shots a game in his eight starts.Granted, each time Hutchinson has started has come in the second game of back-to-back sets, but that shouldn’t be used as an excuse for the discrepancy.While the Leafs mostly have lauded Hutchinson’s play when he has been in the crease — against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, Hutchinson had to make several difficult saves — the 29-year-old, like the rest of the men wearing the Leafs’ colours, has to be better.A save percentage of .890, which Hutchinson sports, isn’t good enough. Not that Andersen has sparkled, posting a save percentage of .901.A gaffe on Hutchinson’s part helped lead to the second Bruins goal in a 4-2 Toronto loss, and afterward, the goalie acknowledged the tests that come in playing with new Leafs defencemen.“It’s always a bit of a challenge at the start of the year,” Hutchinson said. “(We’re) continuing to work on it and communicate off the ice, after games, in between stoppages, trying to sort it out as quickly as possible.”Coach Mike Babcock put his support behind Hutchinson (0-2-1) on Tuesday night.“We needed to get another (goal) for him,” Babcock said. “It’s unfortunate that we haven’t been able to help him get a win. He’s been in a situation with these back-to-back (games), we haven’t given him a real good opportunity.” center_img Comments Share your thoughtslast_img read more

Industry Veteran Rob Huffman Joins Scenic and Emerald Waterways as VP of Trade Sales

first_imgBoston, MA, November 2017 – Industry veteran Rob Huffman is coming aboard Scenic and TEmerald Waterways as their Vice President of Trade Sales – USA. “Our continued focus on driving sales through the travel agent community demands having a top-notch leader who is both familiar to the agents and has the experience and know how to assist them, and us, succeed,” offered Joni Rein, Scenic VP of Sales & Marketing. “Rob’s history is one of continued accomplishments and growth and we believe that makes him a perfect fit for this role.” Rob is based in Charlotte NC and can be reached at Rob.Huffman@scenicusa.com. Rob has spent more than 30 years in the travel industry, starting as a manager of Uniglobe H&H Travel in Tennessee. He spent 20 years at Carnival Cruise Lines focused primarily on sales, training and marketing efforts in several territories, eventually being promoted to regional vp of sales covering 9 states — which quickly expanded into 18 states. He joined Viking River Cruises in 2013, rising to become director of trade sales North America for both the river and ocean products. Rob’s focus at both Carnival and Viking on driving trade sales, providing marketing support and being hands on when it came to agent training and consumer presentations, has fostered much respect from the industry. “I am delighted and honored to be joining the Scenic and Emerald Waterways teams,” states Mr. Huffman. “More importantly, I look forward to working closely with travel retailers across the country in growing both brands in the US market. Our steadfast and unwavering commitment to the travel agent community will continue to be our top priority and we are committed to their success.” Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours has grown over its 30-year history to include award-winning, all-inclusive escorted tours that take participants to many of the world’s most fascinating destinations; two award-winning river cruise lines – Scenic and Emerald Waterways; and, in 2018, the world’s first Discovery Yacht – Scenic Eclipse. Emerald Waterways’ seven Star Ships offer deluxe cruises in Europe, and the Mekong, while Scenic’s 15 Space Ships offer truly all-inclusive, five-star river cruises in the same destinations as well as the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar. Additional information on these and other cruises, brochures and reservations can be obtained via travel agents; or in the US: www.scenicusa.com; phone 844-788-7985; or email: info@scenicusa.com. Brochures can also be downloaded directly from the website.last_img read more

Televangelist accused of funding IS members trip to Sri Lanka

Sources said the decision to was taken after NIA claimed to have seized documents which showed that IS recruit Abu Anas had received Rs 80,000 from IRF as scholarship in October 2015. (Colombo Gazette) Sources said investigators had so far identified 25 bank accounts in four banks, which were regularly used for transactions by Naik and his companies.NIA has written to the scheduled banks to identify all the companies/individuals which had transactions with Naik’s IRF and its associate organisations.The move is aimed at financially choking Naik and his organisations after the controversial televangelist was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). NIA has written to banks asking them to freeze accounts belonging to Naik, his NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and other associate companies, Indian media reports said. “Ashfaque’s father Kader claims that while leaving for Sri Lanka in February this year, Ashfaque told him that Qureshi was funding the tour. In all, 21 people were attending a small course on ‘Learning Quran’. Qureshi had also paid money to make their passports,” said an official.According to Kader, on February 23, Ashfaque left for Sri Lanka, where he stayed in Jaffna. The probe being carried out by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), alleged that Islamic State (IS) recruit Ashfaque Majeed’s father had revealed that Arshi Qureshi, guest manager with the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), had allegedly funded Ashfaque and his fellow recruits’ Sri Lanka trip. Televangelist Zakir Naik has been accused of funding a visit to Sri Lanka by Islamic State (IS) members.The Maharashtra Police is set to register a first information report (FIR) against Naik, after the state law and judiciary department sent in its opinion that a case may be made out against him for inciting enmity. read more