Monday Mashup: Bozak set to return?

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Photo: Getty Images via NHL.com

The Leafs pulled out a win in the shootout Saturday over Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals to move to 14-8-1 on the season, good enough for second place in the Atlantic division. Sitting three points back of the Boston Bruins and in a tie with Tampa (Leafs ahead on goal differential tie-breaker), this week is an important one for the Leafs as they approach a real tough stretch of games in early December. This week sees Columbus in town Monday, Wednesday at Pittsburgh, and closing with a back-to-back in Buffalo and Montreal, Friday and Saturday respectively.

Pulling points out of the games this week will be vital for the Leafs to maintain their position in the division, with Columbus, Buffalo and Montreal all sitting below Toronto in the standings. Despite the fairly ridiculous slew of injuries the Leafs have withstood through the first quarter of the season, the Leafs have managed to get by on a combination of arguably the strongest goaltending tandem in the league and, while maybe not recently, timely scoring. James Reimer was incredible on Saturday, only beaten on a pretty insane shot from Ovechkin in the third period. The ever-popular Tyler Bozak will likely make his return on Monday after being a somewhat surprising late scratch for Saturday’s game. Head Coach Randy Carlyle has been consistently rolling new acquisition Peter Holland out with JVR and Kessel, but that will likely come to an end as soon as Bozak is ready to play.

It will be interesting to see what the deployment will be for Holland with Bozak back in the lineup. If Carlyle wants to maintain his shutdown line going forward with McClement, Kulemin and Raymond, it wouldn’t shock me to see Holland sent to the Marlies while McClement and Smithson run the third and fourth lines and Bozak and Kadri occupy the middle on the first and second lines. While Holland’s game is far from complete, he has shown flashes of the skill that caught the scouts’ attention leading up to the 2009 draft where he was taken 15th overall. Management may decide that refining his game in the AHL in big, all situations minutes is the way to go with Holland, but that is a decision to make once Bozak is back in the lineup.

A note on Anthony’s Notebook: with four games this week and one tonight, Anthony is posting tomorrow.

Some  Leafs links for your Monday:

– The Leafs’ “hang-back plan”…is that what we’re calling the system now?  Mirtle on the Leafs continuing success against the grain.

– Shoalts has the Saturday post-game for the Globe this week

– Traikos at the National Post on Grabovski’s return to the city that bought him out this past summer

– Jonas Siegel of TSN has his always excellent post game story from Saturday’s win.

  • Loric76

    Interesting angle on the Bozak return.  With Bozak back will we start seeing big minutes from the top line again?  In other words, is the reason that line has gotten limited minutes lately more about protecting Holland, or more about whatever the injury/illness is that’s plaguing Kessel right now?

  • Burtonboy

    Loric76 I’d be shocked if Carlyle doesn’t throw Bozak right back into the fire full tilt.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Mirtle’s article is a good dummary of Saturday’s game and the Leafs general tendancies.  Makes me wonder, tho – why do the Leafs “hang back” once they have the lead?  Is that the actual strategy, or are the Leafs just reacting to the push from the opposition?  How many of us were yelling at the TV screen during that dark dark evening last May?  Wondering why our team was letting the Bruins march over our blue line over and over and over again.  The Leafs have forwards that can push any team back on their heels.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe I see that a lot with a lot of games ,not only the Leafs . Seems to me its almost a natural tendencie not to want to make mistakes

  • Great Dane

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe  I also believe that it is very tempting with the type of players we have like Kessel, JVR , Lupul and Kadri. Very fast, very creative.
    If Lupul, Kadri, Clarkson line is starting to work. Nonis will have to figure out if wants to keep Bolland or Bozak, because we someone between Kessel and JVR that can play at their level.

  • Great Dane

    Loric76 Goalie discussion: Moving either Reimer or Bernier would take a top center like Duchene to even consider such a trade.
    Reimer and Bernier just push each other to be better and better – what is not to love about that

  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks, Today, is a good day, to WIN ! 

    Down with whoever Columbus is, Anyone even heard of them ? P
    *-*

  • Mind Bomb

    Great Dane Loric76  Morning Dane, Good luck in our match up this week ! Your gonna need it :)))
    No trading our goalies :)

  • Burtonboy

    Mind Bomb I like Columbus . BJ’s are great :)

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy Mind Bomb Hhahahhahah
    Morning BB,

  • Great Dane

    Mind Bomb  I have had a big problem last two rounds. goalie or nor goalie. Crawford managed in one game to get a -4. The Andersen is send back to the AHL and then Fasth is injured again in his first game back.
    It is only up from here.

  • Loric76

    Exactly how I feel

    https://twitter.com/CaptainCanadaEhhttps://twitter.com/CaptainCanadaEh/status/404955208440369152
    I hate Mondays. But there’s a https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Leafs&src=hash game on today!!

  • Burtonboy

    -Keon- He seemed doubtful he could keep them Long term . Probably won’t be able to afford both

  • Mind Bomb

    Great Dane Mind Bomb haha thats the spirit, My Keeper goalie was Nabokov, and he has tanked this year as well. Thank god Steven Mason is saving my ass, and thats the weirdest thing I have said in a while lol

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy -Keon-  Well It was nice having Bernier for a while, what do you think we can get for Bernier :)

  • Mind Bomb

    -Keon-  Morning Bro, how’s the new job going ?

  • Burtonboy

    Mind Bomb Burtonboy Morning MB

  • MaxwellHowe

    -Keon- Yeah, it may depend on Reimer’s position on an extension.  If his numbers stay in the stratosphere, he will be a RFA seeking salary in the 4-5 million range.  And, how knows, he might agitate for a trade – he didn’t sound happy about the 1A and 1B situation going into the season.  Reimer’s a soft spoken team first guy, but a lot of goalies of his stature would be seeking big money and a guarantee of #1 status.

  • Loric76

    Burtonboy -Keon- Long term, no probably not.  Short term (2-3 seasons), yes they’re both likely staying.  The only thing that could change that is Reimer forcing a trade because he wants big money this year, something I really doubt happens.

  • Burtonboy

    -Keon- Not a chance . We need to get inoculations for the tradeitis that infects this place sometimes lol

  • Mind Bomb

    Loric76 Burtonboy -Keon-  Morning Lor, yep I agree, I think Reims wants to be a leaf, and we are destined to win a cup soon, and Reimer wants to be a part of that

  • Burtonboy

    Mind Bomb Loric76 Burtonboy -Keon- Burke was right about Reims . He has a the mental makeup to handle Toronto especially . Kid just doesn’t give up and is a cool as a cucumber .

  • Loric76

    MaxwellHowe -Keon- I honestly thing Reimer is too humble and too much of a churchie type to demand big money.  If the Leafs can give him a fair deal he’ll take it and be more than happy with it.

  • Burtonboy

    -Keon- We have a good situation going here . Hope Nonis rides it as long as he can

  • Alec Brownscombe

    MaxwellHowe Might be worth noting that the Leafs have opened the scoring in 15/24 games.
    However, they are terribly outshot when tied as well.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Loric76 MaxwellHowe -Keon- As humble as he seems, he didn’t seem overjoyed during the offeseason when he learned that Bernier was encroaching his territory.

  • Loric76

    -Keon- The experience Reimer gets at Sochi will help in that regard :)

  • Burtonboy

    Loric76 MaxwellHowe -Keon- Hmmmmmm Maybe he wants the mother load to give more to the church . Most religious guys I had working for me would work every hr they could get lol

  • Burtonboy

    -Keon- God… just back to work and facing a strike . Not good . You in management Keon ?

  • Burtonboy

    -Keon- Hahaha Been there ,done that lol

  • Mind Bomb

    -Keon-  Well make some Bank while you can bro !

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy -Keon-  haha no shite BB, we are fine. Hell I am even coming around on our Defense lol

  • MaxwellHowe

    Alec Brownscombe MaxwellHowe One the one hand, I sorta get in inkling of a strategy or approach here – when the opposing team has the puck in the Leafs zone, don’t overcommit to the puck, keep the opposition to the perimeter, and wait for them to make a pass that allows the fast wingers to take off. 
    Idk, thats the most positive spin i can put on it.  Frankly, I’m not altogether sure there is any strategy.  Some believe the forwards should come back to offer puck support so the team can leave the zone with speed, some want the wigners streecthed out to back off the defencemen, others advocate chip and chase.  Watch any Leafs game and you will see the boys do every one of these things in the space of a shift, let alone a game.

  • Burtonboy

    Yaknowwhat Loric76 Not when your retired …suck it up buttercup lol

  • Sniffles

    I kind of feel there is some kind of addendum Carlyle has with his defence shooting the puck as he fears the shots will get blocked and away the other team goes. 
    Rushing is different as he has more faith in someone covering.

  • Mind Bomb

    Yaknowwhat Loric76  And mondays dont finish either !

  • Mind Bomb

    @Sniffles  He is probably tired of Our D men taking out our own players lol

  • MaxwellHowe

    Yaknowwhat 
    And thats when Nonis may have his most difficult choice to make.  Does he trade one of Reimer / Bernier?  Where does he find another backup?  Is there some way he can leverage that extra goalie for the #1 centre the Leafs have been searching for years?  I know this – Reimer is making it very difficult for Nonis to contemplate trading him.

  • Mind Bomb

    MaxwellHowe Yaknowwhat  Reimer is our Starter !

  • Burtonboy

    I bet Bernier was saying to himself . Well Reims you just took it up another notch and is itching to get back in . This whole situation is dammed fascinating to watch . A battle of epic proportions lol

  • MaxwellHowe

    Mind Bomb MaxwellHowe Yaknowwhat Then Bernier becomes the potential trade chip  – because his consistency is going to make him a very expensive signing the summer after next.  This summer, both of these guys will have high trade value

  • Mind Bomb

    MaxwellHowe Mind Bomb Yaknowwhat  Well Reims is still an RFA, he can want big bucks all he wants, but until he is UFA…… 
    I think Reims signs another 2 year deal 6 to 7 mil, I can see us running this tandem at least one more year

  • Great Dane

    Burtonboy And that is why Nonis should go out and a center for JVR and Kessel and another shutdown d-man. We have a windows of 2-3 years to get a cup running Reimer and Bernier

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy   So Bernier gets the easier BJ’s tonight :), and Reims gets Pitsburg ?

  • Mind Bomb

    Yaknowwhat Burtonboy Loric76  I hear ya YAK, 45 here, 20 years to go for me 
    /cry

  • Cameron19

    Mind Bomb MaxwellHowe Yaknowwhat Well, if he continues to sit on top of the league, I don’t think he’s going to be taking a 3 million dollar per year deal after having already taken a huge discount on his last contract.  That would make him probably the most underpaid goalie in the NHL.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy I think Reimer deserves the next spat of games

  • Burtonboy

    Yaknowwhat Burtonboy Loric76 Yeah thats kinda difficult to pull off . I consider myself very lucky to get out at 55. But I lived in isolation for 45 yrs to be able to do it .

  • Cameron19

    Great Dane Burtonboy Just like going shopping, ey?

  • MaxwellHowe

    Cameron19 And I don’t buy the mennonite discount argument