The preseason will wrap up with this weekend’s back-to-back against old-but-new-again rival Detroit.
The new divisional match ups between the two Original Six rivals are going to be an interesting case study to follow this season, on account of the antithetical approaches as to how they play the game. While the Red Wings have recently struggled to maintain their possessional dominance with a considerably less skilled blueline than in years previous, their emphasis on puck possession, including Babcock’s aversion to dumping the puck in in favour of carrying pucks over the line, remains the core tenet of their system. In an attempt to compensate for a weaker defence core, Babcock has been tweaking and tightening his systems to better support the defence. The retirement of Rafalski and Lidstrom has hurt their puck movement off the backend.
The Leafs, on the other hand, eat a lot of shots and thrive on the counterattack with their speed in transition.
The lineups are pretty close to the real deal tonight as the two teams use this back to back to prepare for opening night. Kessel’s absence from the lineup due to suspension throws the Leaf lineup a bit out of whack. Lupul will play with Bolland and Kulemin while Clarkson and JvR flank Bozak.
It seems Randy Carlyle will be giving David Broll an audition opportunity next to Kadri tonight as well, with Mason Raymond on the other wing. Broll looks like he could skate a 4th line shift if need be, from what I’ve seen. He’s adequately safe, while bringing the size and physicality expected of a 4th liner, though he has some work to do in the fighting department. It will all depend on how he finishes preseason, the numbers game, and if Frazer McLaren is going to be ready or not (sounding like it’s a no).
The defence is just about what we can expect on October 1st, depending on how the Gardiner-Franson/Fraser-Ranger pairings fare. Carlyle has suggested that a return of the Franson/Fraser combination, which was an effective bottom pair against weak competition last season, wasn’t out of the question, either.
Jonathan Bernier will get the start in net. I imagine the Leafs will go with Reimer and then Bernier in the back to back to start the season regardless of what happens this weekend.
Maple Leafs Pre-Season LinesMaple Leafs Pre-Season Lines vs. Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings Preseason LinesRed Wings Pre-Season Lines vs. Maple Leafs
@Yaknowwhat Still is
@rustynail Can't wait for the opener at Ricoh! Probably a few fights in that one, eh?
@Burtonboy You got hockeystreams, right?
@Burtonboy Or does anyone else have it?
@-Keon- Sorry to press, but what's bad about it?
@-Keon- K reading this Hfboards post about it
Getting mixed results.
We played very soft tonight, guys are resting up for Tuesday, they are sick of preseason and so am I.
Our best guy was Franson and we all know why that was, he was the only one trying out there.
@Komas Taberle I don't know about that, Franson coughed up the puck a few times. Kadri looked good. Lupul, JVR looked pretty good. Bozak useless. Bolland anonymous.
Too small, too slow, too few moves... reaction time not quite there. Would probably be very good in the AHL, but plays within too small a radius for the pro game.
@rustynail Well the no-defense part looked about right to me.
I thought he looked pretty good with 2 assists tongiht
Not sure how the Wings think Howard is going to get them far. He looked bad, I don't think I've ever seen an NHL goalie totally whiff like he did on Kadri's goal.
@CanuckUKinToronto Carlyle is right . You let Detroit free wheel like that and you will get killed
@CanuckUKinToronto It's a double edge sword. Doing that against the Wings will get you penalties. The refs love them as much as the Pens.
Stiff enough protection refers to Gardiner not clearing the net. Guess that doesn't show up in his Corsi.
Wow, Colton Orr looked fantastic out there. He must have improved his skating in the off-season and somehow he seemed smarter too.
@-Keon- Keon you're supposed to put sarcasm thingys in there apparently < > WTF
@-Keon- LOL....going to make some popcorn and grab a drink....this should get interesting.....lol :)
@-Keon- Yeah..figured as much....but usually somebody bites....lol
@-Keon- I thought Kuli was damn good in Kuli type of way
@-Keon- People don't do that fucking nuance stuff these days.
At 1-1 a miscue by Ranger led to the 2-1 goal. The 3rd was the refs period. Give credit to Detroit for scoring on their PP chances
@Komas Taberle We got fucking pwned in the shot count
we didnt play our game tonight. Usually we take the body much more then this, against an old skill team, you have to finish your hits
@Dangle_My_Berries The Leafs are done with preseason, you can see it in their play. So am I, let's get the real games going.
@-Keon- It dont really Matter, what Weiss already left the Game with an injury lol, surprise ! , and thats just the First, Zeterberg, Franzen, Bertuzzi Datsyuk, 42 Games in how are they feeling, 60 games in after several games against boston. They are all good for injury time.
@-Keon- More snipers in the East. And I don't necessarily buy that the West is a "harder" conference.
@-Keon- Bah ! that does not help my argument, now shush !
@-Keon- We'll see. I think the wings are in for a rude awakening. Tonight means jack, same with tomorrow.
The expert are also in for a surprise, I've heard some of them already calling the Wings to take the entire East.
@mcloki Still not impressed by the Wings. But it was a preseason game. You can see the Leafs saving themselves. Tomorrow might be a little better, but I hope they just take it easy, the real games begin soon enough. I could care less if they lose tomorrow. It's not like I'll be at the game.
@Bobsyouruncle Cap relief for Bozak to the Marlies... $925,000
Psychological relief.. priceless