Welcome to the Battle of Ontario edition of our Rookie Tournament coverage.
As we all know, Ottawa sucks and while I have no idea who will dress for the Baby Leafs tonight at this point, I can’t imagine that we’ll have any problem walking all over them; their parents probably won’t even watch out of shame and embarrassment.
The Leafs have won both of their games in the tourney so far and the players who you’d expect to standout have done just that. Brad Ross, Morgan Rielly, Stuart Percy, Petter Granberg, and Josh Leivo (before his injury) have all been great and Zach Yuen turned a few heads in last night’s game.
It will be interesting to see who gets into the lineup today — you’d have to think that management is hoping to get a long look at some of these prospects against like-aged players before NHL camps start.
Starting lineup vs. Ottawa
|M. Rupert||R. Rupert||Brown|
Tweets by @TOTruculent
As predicted, Ottawa sucks. Bibeau made a couple of nice saves but generally the play was tilted toward the Ottawa goal with Leivo, McKegg, and Brown providing most of the offensive work among the forward group. Granberg had an inconsistent period, giving the puck away on one occasion and getting caught flat footed in coverage but later taking some very good angles in defensive transition to cut off lanes; tough to know what to make of that period for him.
The Leafs‘ first goal was scored by Stuart Percy on the powerplay. As I tweeted, he’s not traditionally your classic shooting defenseman but he hit his spot almost perfectly on the one-timer that was set up by Brown.
The second goal was a nifty little move by Matt Rupert on the powerplay in the slot area. Both Ruperts have been pesky which I suppose means they stole the Sens super powers — I guess that accounts for why Ottawa is so shitty. Percy got an assist on the goal running his point total on the tourney to 4 so far, with 1G and 1A so far tonight.
In other news, Broll got in a fight that was more of a wrestling match so that was kind of boring — certainly a long way from the Devane fight of last night.
M. Rupert Goal:
Not a good period for the Leafs and they paid for it.
The Sens scored their first goal on a seeing-eye shot by Shane Prince that somehow snuck through Bibeau. Curtis Lazar picked up an assist on the goal, causing MLHS’ own Jon Steitzer to shed a single tear.
The Leafs failed to capitalize on a long 5-on-3 with the best chance coming on a great cross-zone pass by Josh Leivo to Brad Ross who couldn’t convert. Leivo continues to standout among Leafs forwards.
The Senators’ rookies scored again on the PP after Biggs was called for a pretty questionable penalty. As Matt put it, “one of those actually pretty good defensive play, but naw, holding,” calls. Prince netted his second of the game, loose in the middle of the slot as passing lanes opened up and coverage was sloppy at best.
More ugly play from Granberg that period but MacWilliam has played a pretty solid game. He’s been physical but has chosen his spots well and hasn’t overcommitted to hits thus far.
BREAKING: Bob McKenzie is reporting that UFA Mason Raymond will be attending Leafs camp on a PTO. Personally, I’m not the biggest Raymond fan but I’m a little surprised it has come to this for the speedy winger.
I’ve chosen to forget everything that happened that period but I’m told that Dunn and Stone scored twice each and that the Senators rookies won 6-2.
The only Leafs who stood out in a positive way that period were the Ruperts who are completely indistinguishable from one another to my eye. They were tenacious on the forecheck and showed flashes of skill with the puck as well. Aside from that, it was a lacklustre period from the Leafs after a solid tournament.
MacWilliam impressed me with his physicality in tonight’s game. This is the first opportunity that I’ve had to watch him play and I wouldn’t be surprised if he found his way onto the Marlies‘ roster in his first pro season. Yuen was exceptional last night but was largely a non-factor tonight aside from some good body positioning plays against the forecheck behind the Leafs’ goal.
All in all, a productive and positive tournament for the Leafs’ youngsters. Now go and read about Mason Raymond.