As we filed into the arena today, it was mentioned that Lupul would be out again (back spasms) and that Phil Kessel would be returning home for a funeral for the passing of his Grandfather. Other absentees were Matt Finn and Colton Orr (leg bruise, one week).
I was standing solo and Paul Hendrick came over to me saying, “I hear that you wrote nice things about me yesterday in your article… thanks Corey.” We shared some laughs, mostly at my expense, and he carried on. Right after he left, Jonas Siegel stopped for a chat and mentioned, “I heard you were in London for the Rookie games but I didn’t get to see you…” I assume that he meant members of MLHS staff were there reporting. The positive to this is that members of the mainstream media are recognizing Alec’s and Declan’s hard work with the Maple Leafs Hot Stove website. Times are changing with how sports are being covered and I believe MLHS can provide the fans with something that the MSM cannot.
Onto the practice
Today, Team B took to the ice first. There were lots of drills and lap skating that took place on the main sheet of ice. One of the drills was a one on one drill in speed skating. Both players would skate through three pylons and then race to centre ice for a puck and continue in on the goalie. Mason Raymond, as you can imagine, did just fine in this department, but there one was glaring surprise. This shocker was also noticed by Jeff O’Neill, who mentioned it on the radio during their show on TSN Radio. Joe Colborne cleanly beat Jake Gardiner when they went head to head! Yeah, the 6’5″ deer on ice has gained at least a step on the ice this season. Is this going to be a regular occurrence that he beats guys in a foot race? Probably not, but it is indicative of how much time he has spent working on his foot speed.
While the ice was being flooded for scrimmage, I went over to the Marlies rink to watch Team A getting put through their paces. Not much of interest on that ice surface, but it is great to see the regulars and how much pace they have. It’s just a stride or two quicker than the younger AHL/Junior players, but it is impressive. It seems we are well taken care of with the team speed, on our blueline especially. We have plenty of very agile, quick players. Even the stay-at-home D are faster that previous generations of Leafs, and for that I am thankful.
Things started off slow. Randy Carlyle was up in the “crowd” watching from his usual viewing point. Two shifts into it, his assistant (couldn’t see who) stopped the practice and proceeded to read the riot act to the players on Team B. He was PISSED at the intensity and berated them for a solid 30 seconds (trust me, that is eternity if you are being yelled at). The pace picked up after play resumed and certain players stood out. Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner and Petter Granberg all had a solid session. Rielly and Gardiner are so smooth on the ice it is hard to describe, but their puck handling and passing are just as impressive to watch. Granberg played 2-on-1 and 1-on-1 situations absolutely perfectly and seems to be gaining confidence by the shift. Raymond was also part of this group and showed that his speed is NHL calibre, but I am not so sure about his desire to get involved in the physical battles. It was at this part of the day that Carlyle said to me, “you better cover your ears or move because I am going to blow this whistle a lot.” He was the time clock version of the horn from yesterday. I believe everybody realized that was irritating, and I chose to move.
Team A took to the ice after a fresh flood and I had a feeling the intensity was going to be ramped up. I was right, because scrimmage 2 bore witness to more hitting and the passing/skating was a level higher. I understand why some players might, but it’s nice to see nobody really coasting (Tim Connolly, yes I still remember you). During this session, there were continued battles between Ashton and Dion. Ashton was actually all over the ice and hits pretty much whomever he thinks he should. He looks faster and controls the puck well. He’s a surprise so far for me in camp. Gauthier made a very nice play on Nazem Kadri; when Kadri felt like he could dangle just inside the blueline, Frederik calmly stayed in position and then separated Naz from the puck. Textbook defensive coverage.
Paul Ranger continued his strong play from a positional point of view. He doesn’t do anything too flashy, but did play a 2 on 1 very well after Trevor Murphy made a poor pinch at the blue line to try and keep a puck in. Ranger will grow on fans if given a chance. Immediately after some more physical play, Dion Phaneuf really caught Carter Ashton at centre ice. Knocked him ass over tea kettle and reminded the youngster to be careful who you mess with. The Captain has a long memory. (Side note: After the scrimmage and stretching, Dion went right over to Ashton, asked him if he was okay, and tapped him on the shin pads before skating off… Class act).
Times like this make me smile as a fan. Darryl Sittler was talking to Carlyle right beside me. Two of my favourite Leafers from the past right there smiling and laughing. Does it get better? Yes, only because they talked for so long that Carlyle forgot to blow to the whistle to signal the end of the shift. The guys on the ice were dying. Finally, Clarkson just dumped the puck in and everybody stopped skating. Carlyle realized his mistake and kind of laughed at the players. Nobody was pissed, but it was one of those human moments we don’t get to see often at Camp.
The scrimmage ended and players filtered off the rink for another 1.5 hrs of “off-ice workouts” before calling it quits today. I am sure there will be a ton of interviews posted by TSN, Leafs TV and Sportsnet. There are so many awesome potential story lines from this Camp. I see this team as a fast, rugged, tough group with the ability to score in bunches. The young standouts looking for a spot on the big club blueline are Rielly, Gardiner, Blacker and Granberg. I believe any of them can make an NHL Team (if not ours) in the very near future; of course, that is if you haven’t already pencilled Jake Gardiner into the line-up based on his play from last years series with the Bruins.
That is it from the MCC for Day #2 (Day #3 if you included medicals, which I don’t). Hope you enjoyed following along with my tweets today and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.
I'd ask the same question: how does anyone not know of MLHS? How did you find it?
OK its was Franson that declined arbitration, and then him/agent are now playing hard to get (someone screwed up not Nonis), sorry stupid move. Take whats there or get gone its pretty cut and dry dont you think?, why do we continue the argument
Not cut and dried at all IMO. Franson didn't just wake up and decline arbitration. But hey, it's a cluster right now. I am a huge fan and believe Franson is a cornerstone. I'd rather Management go than Franson TBH. But my opinion and three bucks might get you a cup of coffee!
@Waiting4LSC 3 bucks!! wow last time i bought a coffee it was a dollar ten
Isn't Carlyle likely to become more and more annoyed with Franson the longer he's absent from camp? He's putting Carlyle to quite an inconvenience when it comes to devising pairings. The start of the season's not that far off.
P.S. For what it's worth, my sympathies are with Franson. If your boss approached you and said, 'Look, we need you to be the dirt under the wheels so the master plan can gain traction,' how agreeable would you (or any of us) be?
@Mattmark Probably not, he can only deal with who he has and when Franson checks in he'll change up from there.
Witht the utmost respect to you good sir, what option does Franson have? His agents handling the situation and is in the drivers seat. Would saybFranson is really just a passenger in this. Sadly, IMO this is the making of MLSE not Franson.
@Waiting4LSC (??) The agent is never in the driver's seat. He takes instructions from his client, who can fire him at any time.
@Mattmark He can't get mad at Franson for not just bending over and taking whatever deal the Leafs offer. Negotiating is a part of professional sports. Both sides just want to make a fair deal. Sometimes it takes a while.
@Waiting4LSC I agree with you about the relationship with management: Franson isn't being offered what he deserves. But short of his being traded there's no prospect of his getting it. And Carlyle, of course, knows this. So he's bound to reason, 'Why delay the inevitable? It hurts you, me, and your teammates.'
Naturally agents control 'process'--that's why players hire them. But this has nothing to do with being in the driver's seat. If Franson said, 'Look, I want to be on the ice tomorrow,' his agent would immediately arrange it or risk being replaced by another agent.
@Mattmark I hear you, but if my boss offered my more than double my previous year's wage I'm not holding out.
Why do you think he blames Franson or Franson's team? Maybe he's just as pissed or more so at Nonis for not getting rid of Liles' contract when he had the chance.
Jesus, this Franson too soft bullshit needs to stop. Seriously what did you watch last year? Ridiculous. Sorry to be a dick youre all being civil, but the opinion that hes soft rattles me, hes not at all. He dummied alot of guys last year and is actually very effective with his size and strength in the corners.
Good sir, ultimately yes, but the process is controlled by the agent. Or at least it is in the NFL. Franson expects a reasonable return, and the benchmarks of Bernier, Naz, etc are now in fullnview. he has no reason to settle for a huge discount, just to fit under the cap, unless there is a quid pro quo. I do not see why Franson should capitulate just because Management have little in the pot. This was not of Franson's making, Management knew what they faced. My opinion, and I am adamant on it, :)
Here's Damien Cox today, trying to make a case that Mark Fraser might have helped avert last year's game seven collapse vs. the Bruins if he'd been in the lineup:
"He might have helped the sense of all-out panic that pervaded the Leaf defensive shield."
Quite apart from the question of whether Fraser's presence would have made the slightest difference, the team's "sense of all-out panic" didn't need help; it blossomed quite nicely by itself, thanks. If Fraser had been there and had managed to AVERT or PUT AN END TO any sense of panic, that might have done us some good.
Cox has been inflicting his formulaic 'reasoning' and cardboard cutout 'columns' on us seemingly forever but has yet to master the most basic tool of his trade, the English language. Not only does he never link a noun to a verb except to trash management, players and fans alike, he doesn't even know which nouns and verbs to link.
@Bon Scott was a Leaf fanWatchin' X-Files with no lights on?
"Dion Phaneuf really caught Carter Ashton at centre ice. Knocked him ass over tea kettle and reminded the youngster to be careful who you mess with. The Captain has a long memory."
Not sure if that's a long memory being that he just got hit by him on Day #1 lol, but I think we all knew he would try to get him back.
What I am wondering is how Ashton took that hit and played after he got hit?
@CanuckUKinToronto Where did you see the cuts?
@CanuckUKinToronto nm, found it
Good read Anthony. On point 10, I think the Bruins would have been better of with Kessel over the long haul. Seguin was largely a passenger on the Cup team.
The Bruins won the Cup on an anger induced adrenaline rush following the hit on Horton and All World goaltending. Refs putting away the whistles didnt hurt. See 3rd period game 7 this year as a reminder
The goaltending is no longer quite as good and its hard to go all the way with elite talent. And that is what Kessel is.
"Times are changing with how sports are being covered and I believe MLHS can provide the fans with something that the MSM cannot."
Put bluntly, given the paywalls which the four major newspapers have now erected, what MLHS can offer to its readers is a consistently available free online source of in-depth coverage of the Leafs.
The more readers and traffic you get here, the more important the site becomes and the less the so-called MSM is going to like you.
But that doesn't mean you are wrong about all of this; on the contrary - it means you are EXACTLY right.
Well cuts have been made no surprise except they didnt keep matt rupert...bbooooo, hope its bc of contract space, hope they still sign him for the marlies...........
On Matt Rupert - he and his brother have one more year of junior plus the get to play in the Memorial Cup for the third straight year. Maybe Marlies next year.