Tyler Toffoli is coming off his best NHL season to date, having scored 49 points for the Los Angeles Kings and putting up a +25 rating. Now he’s contributed two goals and five points in 10 games to a Canadian team that has dominated this World Championship like few teams have.
Hockey’s Future got a few words in with Toffoli and his teammates Aaron Ekblad and Nathan MacKinnon following Team Canada’s 6-1 win over Russia in the gold medal game at the 2015 IIHF World Championship.
Hockey’s Future: Whether it be Stanley Cups or gold medals, this seems like your favorite time of the year. How are you feeling right now?
Tyler Toffoli: Very good and very happy. I’m part of a great group of guys that went out and won this championship. And we deserved it.
HF: What has it meant to you to be a part of this very special Team Canada?
TT: It’s been nothing short of an honor. It’s always an honor to represent your country. To do what we’ve done here has been a bunch of fun and it couldn’t have been with a better group of guys.
HF: You’ve just completed your best-ever individual NHL season in this young career of yours. Is this the best way to top it off?
TT: It’s always good to end a season with a win. Seen like that, it most certainly is. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that back in LA, but winning a gold medal with Team Canada is pretty sweet.
HF: Once your season ended with the Kings and you were asked to be part of this, how much time did you need to contemplate coming over?
TT: No time at all. It’s an honor and a privilege to play for your country, and what we’ve done here with this team is really very special.
HF: What kind of an experience was this in your still very young career?
AE: This has been a fantastic experience. We’ve gone through a lot of ups and only a few very short downs. We were always able to regroup and refocus and then succeed. It’s quite an attest to our coaching staff and its ability to always turn us around and keep us focused. Offensively and defensively we showed throughout the tournament why Canada is the best.
HF: It was dominating. There wasn’t a single loss along the way.
AE: The players, the coaching staff, all the supporting pieces that make a team good – everybody played their role. And that’s very important. There are a lot of superstars here. They may have played 25 minutes a night in the NHL. So it’s a lesser role here, but then again, it’s not. It’s a team and everyone did what he needed to for the team.
HF: A certain center got into the triple gold club tonight. How’d you like playing with Sidney Crosby?
AE: He’s the best player in the world. He’s hands down THE best player in the world. You can’t measure the impact and importance he had. Few people can make the difference he makes.
HF: You’ve won gold. Tell me about it!
NM: Well, we knew the Russians would have a good team coming in tonight. I don’t know how many shots they had, but it must have been under 15 and we had over 40. It was a fun game start to finish. But hey, 10-0 in this tournament. It doesn’t get any better than that. I’ve been very fortunate to play with these guys. This has been one of the best WC teams ever, I think. Finishing this way feels amazing.
HF: And it came together so fast, and yet so dominant.
NM: It consists of some of the best players in the world. Crosby, Seguin, Giroux, Spezza – some of the top names in the game. Mike Smith is a great goalie. Top to bottom, all four lines, all 7 ‘D’, the goalies, it’s been the perfect recipe. Winning gold is amazing.
HF: Sidney Crosby is from your area. That must have been a real thrill for you to be on a team with him.
NM: Oh yes, a thrill. We sit near each other and have become buddies. Growing up, he was an idol for me, now we’re friends. It’ll be fun to share this and bring this gold back to Cole Harbor.
HF: You never let the Russians get back in it even though they picked up the pace – and the rough stuff – in the third period.
NM: We knew this was our time. We knew we’d rarely be able to assemble a team like this. It doesn’t happen often. We weren’t going to let this slip. And we didn’t. It’s just special.
HF: How gratifying is this for you in light of your up and down sophomore season that included a big injury?
NM: It’s no secret that this wasn’t the type of season I wanted to have. Now I get to go into the summer feeling good. I ended last season with a loss. This one ends in a win and I’m feeling very happy. It doesn’t diminish the year I’ve had, but it puts positive thinking into my head looking towards next season. I’ve had a lot of fun here and I won’t be forgetting this any time soon.
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