3 things we learned in the NHL: Maple Leafs’ Rielly sets new career high

Rielly-goal

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly is congratulated on his goal. (Frank Gunn/CP)

Morgan Rielly set a new career-high in points, Bob Cole got a well-deserved tribute and the Philadelphia Flyers gave back to the community.

Here are four things we learned in the NHL.

Morgan Rielly continues breakout season for Leafs

Rielly continues to pile up the points this season, scoring the game-winning goal in the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. The 24-year-old defenceman has now established a new career-high in points (53) with 14 goals and 39 assists in 53 games this season.

Last season, Rielly established a new career-high when he scored six goals, 46 assists and 52 points in 76 games. The fifth-overall pick from the 2012 draft is now tied with Mark Giordano for second in points among defenceman in the NHL, with Brent Burns’ 58 points leading the way.

The Vancouver, B.C. native is now on pace to finish with 22 goals and 82 points, which would set a new Leafs record for points in a season by a defenceman — previously set by Ian Turnbull, who had 79 in the 1976-77 season. Turnbull and Al Iafrate also own the single-season record for goals with 22 and Borje Salming has the record for assists with 66.

Bob Cole gets final salute in Toronto

It was only fitting that Bob Cole’s final game in Toronto was a spirited Battle of Ontario between the Leafs and Senators.

The 85-year-old play-by-play announcer is broadcasting his 50th and final season, and is making stops in every Canadian city before signing off after the Leafs–Canadiens game on April 6.

During the game, the Leafs honoured the Hall of Fame broadcaster with a video tribute as fans gave Cole a standing ovation in appreciation of a voice that has become a staple in Canada for 50 years.

Cole is a Gemini-award-winning broadcaster, a member of the Order of Canada and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996 as a recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting excellence.

Oh Baby.

Flyers welcome students from Overbook School for the Blind

Before skating off the ice after practice, members of the Flyers welcomed a group of students from the Overbook School for the Blind for a special on-ice session.

A couple of players showed the students different on-ice skills and got to see the type of puck used in blind hockey leagues, which makes noise and is larger than NHL-style pucks.

Blind hockey has been around since the early ’70s in Canada and was first played in the U.S. in 2014. Participants include those who have vision impairments ranging from legally blind — which is around 10 per cent vision or less — to completely blind.

Here are some of the rules and regulations for blind hockey, as listed on the Blind Ice Hockey website:

• Custom three-foot high nets are used rather than the traditional four-foot nets to keep the puck low and near the ice so it can make noise and be tracked aurally.

• Teams must complete one pass prior to being able to score in the attacking half of the rink – this provides both the low vision defence and the goalie an extra opportunity to track the puck.

• The game is played with standard IIHF safety protocols including no-touch icing, and crease violations to ensure utmost player safety.

• All players must wear full protective gear including face mask.

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