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The Mailbag: March 8

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening? I guess which one suits you is going to be dependent on which time zone you’re in, and what time you click this link. In any event, it’s time for everyone’s favourite Monday staple – the mailbag. What’s on your mind this week? Let’s dig in and find out.

This is a very valid question, though it’s hard to have certainty in asking it at the moment. Most of us are curious to what the status of Matthews’ wrist is given the fact that he’s been by and large kept off the score sheet since returning, and in some ways looks a little less adventurous in the offensive zone.

At the same time, this could be a combination of other factors. He could just be in the midst of a a cold streak – a bit of a balance to the all-time hot he was before missing time – and the visual stuff could be confirmation bias on our end as we seek to find out why. Knowing there’s a slump happening and knowing he’s been banged up, we’re all zeroing more on his mannerisms and drawing conclusions as a result.

So it’s entirely possible that he’s just slumping and we’re all in our heads. If we are correct, though, and he’s still not up to speed, it should be asked what the point of this is. The team is still very good with him out of the lineup, and it’s better to have him healthy for the stretch and the playoffs. I guess we’ll have to see what the exact condition is moving ahead.

I don’t think it’s a guarantee that someone leaves the top six, firstly. Simmonds had a great couple games before getting hurt, and I’m open to the idea of him playing anywhere up and down the lineup, but he’s not at a tier where that spot is to be handed to him. That’s especially true given that he’ll be coming back from a few weeks off.

As for who comes out, I think by that stage of the season we’ll be looking at more frequent rotations amongst the depth and maybe even the higher-end forwards to maintain energy and health ahead of the playoffs, rather then there being a defined player who draws out. It’s also possible we see another injury or two that pushes this into the no-questions-necessary range.

Hey! A Pokemon Go question!

Ditto is funny, in the sense that you don’t just catch a Ditto, save for a couple of special events (like the shiny Ditto in the Kanto Tour event a few weeks ago).

To maintain some of the storyline from the handheld games, there’s a random chance that certain spawns will be Ditto depending to be other species, and will morph after your catch.  Right now, the species that can actually be Ditto are Paras, Hoothoot, Spinarak, Hoppip, Remoraid, Whismur, Gulpin, Nummel, Bidoof, and Foongus.

Niantic has been experimenting with different spawn pools based on events and regions over the past few months, so a lot of the ones I mentioned won’t be available to my Toronto-area friends. You’ll be looking for Hoppip, Whismur, Bidoof, and Foongus at the moment. Catch as many of those as you can and eventually you’ll find your Ditto. Happy trails!

TWO PoGo questions? What a week.

One shiny is really whittering it down – I’ve got 319 in my collection at the moment, including many legendaries and two Shundos (100% stats and Shiny).

I’m going to go with one of the latter and say my Shundo Alomomola. It’ll probably be one of my least used Pokes, occasionally put into a gym but not much else, but I caught it early on its first day of release so I’m imagining that it has a real shot of being the first Shundo of its kind in the world. That’s pretty neat, no?

Can I be honest? I’m not too stressed about deadline targets at the moment. The team isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t really have a weak spot at the moment. Multiple star forwards with good supporting depth, a quality Top-4 on the blue line, plenty of options for the bottom pair, and when everyone’s healthy, three solid goalies.

You can obviously make this better by nature of the fact that there is no perfect team out there, but the team is at a stage where acquisition is dealing in luxuries rather than urgent needs. A deadline deal will also require a lot of maneuvering to get to, given Toronto’s tight cap position. A luxury acquisition would have to be really, really good to make up for whatever needs to be broken up to fit them in.

I think most of the reason I go back to the classics is because I fell out of loop with the AAA titles of the past decade or so, absorbing myself into other hobbies or interests and mostly using my console time to play sports games with my friends.

With that said, my game of the last decade or so is Forza Horizon 4. I could go on and on about how they’ve perfected the open-world racing concept, kept the game fresh with content, etc, but it’s really one of those things where it’s best said: If you’ve got a gaming-capable PC or an Xbox One/Series, download it and play it. It’s the most well rounded driving game I’ve ever played in the sense that it just has something for everyone. When I was in my worst depressive funk of last year I probably put a triple-digit amount of hours into completing my car collection and 100%-ing everything, and still sign on for the Festival Playlists every Thursday. It’s an all-time great title. The previous ones in the series are also excellent, with some parts better than this one, but this is a culmination of years of effort by the development team.

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