Opening Night: Turning Another Leaf

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    The Maple Leafs are ready to set the upcoming season stage for the Detroit Red Wings tonight at the Joe Louis arena and quite a few regulars are ready to pull the jersey back on.

    The Leafs are prepped and ready to go tonight, despite a late night alarm that had them all standing outside on the street at 4:00 A.M. this morning. The excitement is in the air, and so will the hands be later as Def Leppard takes to the stage prior to the Red Wings hoisting the Stanley Cup banner. “There’s no purpose in sitting in the dressing room and thinking that you’ll be facing a firing squad. Get out there and suck up some of the energy. I think that’s what we might do.” Wilson believes the Leafs should respect the achievement of winning a cup – an achievement the club hopes to reach a few seasons from now. Wilson hopes the event will spark his team and put out a great effort in the season opener against the defending champs.

    Who better to feel the energy than newcomer Jonas Frogren, who only a few years ago had an altercation with then Maple Leaf Tie Domi in Europe. He nows wears the same jersey, and will officially be welcomed into the league for the opener during a celebration in Detroit. Luke Schenn will be making roughly $10,000 for tonight’s game alone while a year ago he was living off his parents and studying in school. The 18 year old has to be counting down the seconds to play his first regular season game – something we’ve all dreamed of doing. Luke is living the dream.

    Tonight will finally shed some light on the true talent and capabilities of Toronto’s core. A few high scoring affairs in the preseason and plenty of scoring from newcomer Mikhail Grabovski will be put to the test against the tempo of regular season play. Ryan Hollweg will not be joining the Leafs as he will begin to serve his 2 game suspension tonight and Jeff Finger is still nursing an injury after blocking a shot in practice just over a week ago.

    Toronto used the following lines in practice yesterday. Ian White played forward for most of the scrimmage, and Carlo Colaiaicovo rotated with Van Ryn alongside Kubina.

    FORWARDS
    Alexei Ponikarovsky-Nik Antropov-Jason Blake
    Jiri Tlusty-Mikhail Grabovski-Niklas Hagman
    Alex Steen-Dominic Moore-Nikolai Kulemin
    John Mitchell-Matt Stajan-Jamal Mayers
    Spares: Ian White, Ryan Hollweg

    DEFENCE
    Luke Schenn-Tomas Kaberle
    Mike Van Ryn-Pavel Kubina
    Jonas Frogren-Anton Stralman
    Also: Carlo Colaiacovo

    GOALIES
    Vesa Toskala, Curtis Joseph

    Will the Leafs kick off the season with a win over a team who only got stronger since winning the cup, or will they succumb to the speculation of finishing as a bottom feeder? Now’s the time to find out.

    Note: As mentioned by a few members, the Fan590 has reported Stralman will be a scratch from tonight’s game and Van Ryn will skate alongside Frogren tonight.

    Micheal A. Aldred
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