Skating drills give young Leafs’ defenceman NHL shot

Catch a Maple Leafs practice these days and you’re bound to see something new.

On Saturday, for instance, at the end of the morning skate prior to that night’s rousing victory over the Montreal Canadiens, there was 22-year-old rookie defenceman Phil Oreskovic with a stick in each hand, skating backward at medium speed between the two blue lines, pivoting and then doing the same drill again. And again.

“Yeah, that’s a new drill I made up just for Phil,” Leafs skating instructor Graeme Townshend said in an interview later that day. 

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