Maple Leafs suspend Marlies goalie Garret Sparks for online comments

Maple Leafs suspend Marlies goalie Garret Sparks for online comments
By Lance Hornby , Toronto Sun
First posted: Saturday, November 26, 2016 07:21 PM EST | Updated: Saturday, November 26, 2016 07:27 PM EST
TORONTO - Garret Sparks has been one of the most active and engaging of the Maple Leafs and Marlies on social media, but now his candor has cost him.
The goaltender has been suspended indefinitely after inappropriate language was exchanged in an online group earlier this week.
“He was sent home for some team policy reasons when we were on the road trip in (Albany, N.Y.),” coach Sheldon Keefe said after Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Utica Comets at the Air Canada Centre. “I’m familiar with the circumstances, but we’re not going to comment any further from there. (Leaf) management handled the situation.”
TSN reported that a Facebook goalie group for which Sparks is an administrator, had a member of the forum allegedly mock a disabled person. Sparks is said to have made threats against the person making the disparaging comments, in which the goalie also allegedly said the group member sounded “like a 13-year-old girl.”
Sparks was then taken to task for that comment by another chat participant for which he apologized.
Sparks, 23, appeared in 17 games for the Leafs last season, with a record of 6-9-1 and .893 save percentage. Sparks has played well in an injury shortened season thus far for the farm team, a record of 3-1-0 with a .918 save percentage.
Maple Leafs suspend Marlies goalie Garret Sparks for online comments | Toronto M
No decision on return to game action for Marlies goalie Sparks after team suspension
First posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 01:34 PM EST | Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 01:45 PM EST
TORONTO — Garret Sparks was back on the Ricoh Coliseum ice on Tuesday morning skating with his teammates, but his return to the Toronto Marlies lineup remains uncertain.
The Marlies sent Sparks home following its 3-1 loss in Albany, N.Y., last Tuesday. Head coach Sheldon Keefe said the 23-year-old goaltender was punished for team policy reasons.
Sparks, who is active on social media, reportedly used inappropriate language when posting a Facebook group which he is an administrator for.
“He’s back with the team, (but) he’s not with the main group,” Keefe said ahead of Tuesday night’s game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. “We’ve been balancing a number of goalies since we started really. He’s with the not (playing) group, skating working out — all that kind of stuff.”
Keefe added he’s waiting for management to clear Sparks to return to game action. After Tuesday’s contest the Marlies play three games in three nights, beginning in Rochester on Friday.
Sparks was not made available to the media on Tuesday.
Goaltenders Antoine Bibeau and Jeff Glass will dress for the Maple Leafs affiliate on Tuesday.
Sparks is 3-1-0 in four appearances this season posting a 2.02 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.
Veteran forward Brooks Laich didn’t speak to Sparks about the incident, but as an active social media user he had advice for his young teammate.
“I don’t think emotions should ever get involved on social media,” Laich said. “I think that’s where things can go wrong. Sometimes it’s hard to turn the other cheek. I wouldn’t say that everybody that uses social media is using it properly or for the right (purpose). There can be traps that you get involved in.
“Just leave emotion out of it, and always be aware the Internet is forever.”
Originally Toronto’s seventh-round pick at the 2011 NHL Draft, Sparks made his NHL debut last season with a 22-save shutout of the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 30.
In 17 NHL games the Elmhurst, Ill., native went 6-9-1 while posting a 3.02 GAA and an .898 save percentage.
Following the expiration of his entry-level contract last July, the Maple Leafs signed Sparks to a one-year, two-way contract.
No decision on return to game action for Marlies goalie Sparks after team suspen
Sparks' fate up to Leafs
By Lance Hornby , Toronto Sun
First posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 10:29 PM EST | Updated: Thursday, December 01, 2016 12:02 AM EST
TORONTO - Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe is letting the parent team decide when Garrett Sparks can come back to work, but Leaf general manager Lou Lamoriello isn’t saying much.
Aside from giving permission for Sparks to re-join the farm club, Lamoriello is not allowing Sparks to practice in net with the Marlies as of Wednesday at least. The Marlies have two weekend games and Sparks was playing behind Antoine Bibeau when sent home by the Leafs on the weekend after using inappropriate language on a goaltending-themed social media site.
Through a club spokesman, Lamoriello said there no developments in the situation with centre Peter Holland, who didn’t accompany the Leafs on their current road trip in a spat about his lack of playing time. Lamoriello has said he will try and arrange a move out of town for Holland.
Holland’s late removal from the trip left the Leafs without an extra forward, unless Josh Leivo is activated, but after Wednesday’s game in Calgary, only one stop remains, Saturday in Vancouver.
A lot of sports history is packed into Flames rookie centre Mark Jankowski.
He’s the grandson of the late Lou Jankowski, a Regina-born member of the Oshawa Generals, who played for Detroit and Chicago in the NHL and was a long-time scout for the Rangers and Washington. Mark’s father, Len, played NCAA hockey at Cornell, was friends with Ottawa 67’s boss Brian Kilrea and played briefly in Europe. Uncle Ryan was a Canadiens’ scout.
Lou was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and like the older members of the family, Mark was an excellent baseball player. He was a centre fielder on the Georgetown Eagles 2007 national peewee champions, coached by Blue Jays scout Bill Byckowski and Hall of Fame Toronto Sun baseball columnist Bob Elliott. Jankowski won the nationals again with Vaughan in ‘09. He had to leave the sport after being drafted 21st overall in 2012 by Calgary out of Providence College and debuted Monday against the Islanders.“I have a pretty big background in hockey, so it’s pretty cool to be able to carry that on,” Mark said.
Leafs’ radio analyst Jim Ralph, a former goalie, had a keen observation while scanning Jacques Plante’s mask in a display case of Oiler memorabilia at the new Rogers Place. The wraparound model might have been the last mask the great innovator ever wore as the World Hockey Association Oilers were his final North American stop in 1975.
“I knew his mask right away, because I always wanted one as a kid,” Ralph said.
We like the nickname for the row of seven Leaf rookies in the dressing room — Young Street ... The Leafs should open every Western road trip in Edmonton. When doing so, their record is 7-1-1 since 1998-99, but they’ve only won a couple of times when starting in Calgary or Vancouver ... Auston Matthews agreed that Nazem Kadri must have “zero friends” in Edmonton after two games where he got under the skin of many Oilers, starting with Connor McDavid. “But you have to love having a guy like that on your team,” Matthews said. “He’s unbelievable, the way he’s shutting down lines, scoring goals and doing everything out there. He’s been really good for us lately.”
Outside the Flames’ dressing room at the Scotiabank Saddledome is the giant photo of Calgary’s 1989 Stanley Cup champions. Ten players with future Leaf connections on the ice or behind the bench were on that club, many brought by Cliff Fletcher when he departed as GM to take the job in Toronto. They include defenceman Jamie Macoun, a Newmarket native and one of the Leafs who played all 21 post-season games for Toronto in its memorable 1993 spring run. Macoun would appear in 20-plus playoff matches four times in his career. He had 101 points in 466 Leaf games and wore 34, now the property of Auston Matthews.
Sparks' fate up to Leafs | Toronto Maple Leafs | Sports | Toronto Sun

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