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Placing Tyler Bozak on Long Term Injured Reserve freed up the cap space to call up defenceman John Michael Liles on Friday.
Trying out someone with his puck moving ability and experience on the backend couldn’t hurt based on how the team has been struggling to get out of their zone.
Liles has 13 points and is a plus-nine in 16 games in the AHL this season, and has been a favourite of head coach Steve Spott’s for taking the demotion so well and eagerly embracing a leadership role on a young Marlies team.
What does it mean for Morgan Rielly? Well, if he isn’t playing consistently come decision time for the World Juniors (December 19th), it’s hard to imagine him staying. The Team Canada option remains open. It will depend on the situation in a week and a half, one imagines.
The Sharks enter this game 18-3-5, and are 9-1-2 against fellow Pacific Division opponents, which is easily the strongest division in the NHL. They enter winners of five straight.
This is a dominant team with a deeeeep lineup.
How can the Leafs beat them? Well, it begins and ends between the pipes with James Reimer, one would think. The Leafs are shorthanded and are the inferior team, so the answer to closing the gap is cliched – ‘outwork them.’ Playing without the puck a lot, which is almost ensured, means ramping up the physical play will be necessary to try to create separation.
Hey, even the Sharks once had a 0-1-4 stretch once, right? These guys are human.
Nazem Kadri won’t play tonight in order to be with his family after the passing of his grandfather. Cody Franson is a game time decision.
Introducing new MLHS writer Elliot Saccucci, Elliot will joins Michael and Michael to discuss the NHL-Rogers TV rights deal, the Leafs’ struggles, and more.
A little info on Elliot:
Elliot Saccucci joined BJCTB as an associate in 2013. He completed his articles at the Toronto office of a national full-service firm before leaving to pursue a focused litigation practice. Elliot has studied both civil and criminal trial advocacy, and has acted as a mediator at Toronto Small Claims Court. Elliot currently teaches a negotiation course entitled “Lawyer as Negotiator” at Osgoode Hall Law School, where he graduated in the top 6% of his class, and was a recipient of the McMillan LLP Scholarship. He has written extensively on negotiation, mediation and alternative dispute resolution, and his paper on collective bargaining in the National Hockey League was published in Volume 19 of the Sports Lawyers Journal.
Joffrey Lupul is back on the injury shelf. The Leafs’ porcelain man appeared to tweak something as he pivoted in the corner in the second period of last night’s game. He limped off to the dressing room and didn’t return.
Groin strain for Lupul. Will not travel on upcoming trip.
Lupul had been struggling for much of November. Throw out the three-assist game against New York and Lupul has one point in nine other November games.
There’s little doubt that the Leafs were relying on Lupul as a key piece in turning the offense around after scoring just 17 goals in 10 November games.
The injury plague continues to haunt the Leaf forwards, just as Tyler Bozak is returning and the team was looking relatively healthy. With Lupul, however, this is becoming a non-story.
Lupul’s first injury as a Leaf was a separated shoulder in March of 2012, sidelining him for the remaining 16 games of the 2011-12 season. He broke his forearm at the start of the 2013 season courtesy a Phaneuf slapshot, missing 25 games. He was suspended for two games and sustained a concussion in early April of 2013, adding up to seven more missed games and a total of 16 out of 48 games played in 2012-13.
This season he’s missed two games with a bruised foot, after taking a shot to the foot in practice, and now stands to miss a run of games with a groin injury.
Lupul has missed 57% of the games in the last five seasons, a total of 181 since 2008-09.
Lupul won’t travel with the team for its upcoming road trip to Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Montreal. Randy Carlyle could shift a few things around and reinsert Trevor Smith into the fold, or he could recall Josh Leivo from the Toronto Marlies.
Beautiful snipes from Kessel x2 and Clarkson, plus three point nights for Lupul and Smith, as the Leafs break out of an offensive funk in a big way in a 5-2 win over NYI. The Leafs moved to 13-7-1 on the season.
Picking up two points versus the Islanders before Kadri and Bozak return with Predators, Capitals and Blue Jackets on the docket could set the Leafs up nicely for the rest of November. The Leafs need to accumulate some points before they embark on a December from hell.
Odds have been released for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, pitting Team Canada as a 23/10 favourite to take home Gold in Men’s Hockey. Click to the web site.
The long-term injury to Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos (broken leg) is one of a few injury concerns for Canada’s team. Forward Rick Nash of the New York Rangers has been sidelined indefinitely with a concussion issue. Both were considered locks for the Sochi roster. A bubble option in forward Jeff Carter also is on the shelf with a lower-body injury. Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward has been banged up in the early season and the injury may have derailed his hopes of representing Canada at the Games.
There are no Toronto Maple Leafs who are likely to represent Canada in Sochi, but there are a few outside shots depending on injury or performance in the months leading up to the Games. Dion Phaneuf is an option on defence, while in net, where Canada’s biggest question mark resides, both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer’s numbers have been good enough to warrant consideration. Toronto’s tandem represented Team Canada in the World Championships in 2012. Team Canada will bring three netminders to Sochi, with Roberto Luongo, Mike Smith and Carey Price considered among the current favourites.
The dynamic winger duo of James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel are sure bets for the Team USA roster, however, and will likely feature on the same line. The instant chemistry is a draw for the minds in charge of picking rosters that must gel quickly for the two-week tournament. Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman may apply the same thinking in bringing Chris Kunitz to play next to Sidney Crosby.
Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Carl Gunnarsson will likely don the Tre Kronor for Team Sweden. Toronto Marlies defenceman Korbinian Holzer, who played 22 games with the Maple Leafs last season, could represent Team Germany in the Games.
The 2014 Sochi Olympics get underway on February 7, 2014.
This will be a special night for new Leaf Peter Holland, making his Leaf debut close to home in the ACC on Hockey Night in Canada.
Finding out you’ve been traded the day of, before heading to Toronto to play your first game in the ACC on HNIC just hours later, has to be a combination of exciting and nerve wracking that’s tough to wrap the head around.