We always love a game of traded jerseys. Lee Stempniak, Matt Stajan, Matthew Lombardi, Niklas Hagman, Dion Phaneuf, Lanny McDonald - wait, thatâ€™s getting too far back. Anyways, this game was the best example of what one week's rust can do to a hockey team. The boys in blue gave up numerous turnovers in the first but managed a supreme comeback to remain perfect.
The Leafs are looking to prolong their great start to the season against a Canadian rival. Regardless of how people might feel on the issue, the big story tonight will undoubtedly be the play of Cody Franson, who wanted an in game opportunity to prove himself.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, heâ€™ll get the nod on defense tonight, while Jake Gardiner is expected to sit this one out allowing Franson to make his season debut alongside Mike Komisarek.
As you might have heard, Cody Franson made a really messy debut with the Toronto media today. Here are my two cents on the matter.Â Before you start reading, this is part of what was said:
â€œI donâ€™t want to be a guy that misses games,â€ says Franson, who is in the final season of his contract. â€œIâ€™m supposed to be coming into my own. This was supposed to be my breakout year. Thatâ€™s what I was working towards this summer. I was getting myself into shape to play bigger minutes and a bigger role. I prepared myself for that. For some reason, it just didnâ€™t turn out that way.â€
We've been there, done that. The Leafs made a great start to last season's campaign. Where did that get us? Well, in a way it got us here. Change is a good thing. And this Leafs team is much different than the squad that started last season.
Last year's start was unexpected. More so because the level of play the team was showing and less so because of the roster depth, which didn't really look that good on paper. Many would argue that's still the case, but the quality of play shown in this opening period of the season (ok, weâ€™ll forget 30 minutes of play, 20 of which took them to find their legs on opening night) is really promising.
The kind of Battle of Ontario we all like to see, this was a hockey game in all its glory. Big hits, some scraps and a whole lot of goals. Tense stuff, crazy stuff, but most of all plenty of things to be happy about if youâ€™re a Leafs fan. And you are, arenâ€™t you. Being a Sens fan just doesnâ€™t make sense.
This summer was very bleak and devastatingly unkind to hockey. Wade Belak, Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien all lost their lives on dark summer days. An entire KHL hockey team perished in one single moment. We keep talking about racism, headshots, homophobic slurs and concussion effects.
While they are all worthy topics and certainly merit their place in hockey discussions around the globe, right now, at the beginning of a new season, I feel itâ€™s best to focus on the positive things surrounding our great game.
A new season always brings fresh optimism about your teamâ€™s chances. Itâ€™s like a drug to us hockey fans. Anything seems possible. This writer is starting his season talking about all the things that fill him with joy and excitement when watching a hockey game.
I won't lie. This wasn't the best of preseason games for this group. The young and willing Detroit team showed more opportunism when it came to their scoring chances and came out with a deserved win.
This game, perhaps more than any other in preseason, showed there is still a lot of work to be done heading into the regular season.Â It isnâ€™t all bad. Yes, one can argue that this wasnâ€™t exactly the A+ Detroit team (and it wasnâ€™t, by any means) but there were a lot of hungry players fighting for spots out there. Secondly, I thought the Leafs dominated much of the play at times and just couldnâ€™t put the Wings to bed when they really should have.
Prior to preseason preparation, and training camp battles, management was very clear on how the available spots on the roster are going to be filled. Whoever earns the job, regardless of age, previous status or NHL experience, with a good camp will have the job. Jobs will not be given, they will be earned.
During this period of preparation, Jake Gardinerâ€™s star shone so bright that even true spokesman of AHL player development couldnâ€™t negate the impact his ability had on the transition game and overall attacking play of our back end.
Gotta love the victory over the Sens, preseason or not. However, things started out going from bad to worse. The first goal was one to remember for Chris Neil and his family. He makes the first real hockey play of his life by banking the puck off Reimer for Mika Zibanjad to show off his great hand eye coordination and bat the puck in. He meant to do it and all.
So far Neil has had five career two assist games, and the sixth came tonight. Ah well, I hear Halley's Comet is coming in 2061. Thatâ€™s exactly the date when you can expect Chris to repeat this feat.
On this day in 1931, our Maple Leafs acquired Frank Finnigan in the NHL's Dispersal Draft. Until that time, Finnigan had played eight seasons with the Ottawa Senators, seasons which included a Cup win in 1927. Following the Great Depression, most teams were in state of financial crisis and that was exactly what lead the Ottawa Senators to withdraw from playing in the 1931-32 season. Of course, we now know that the Sens didnâ€™t make their return until a much later time.
Francis Arthur Clarence Finnigan was nicknamed "The Shawville Express". The nickname started when he was playing for the University of Ottawa, as he had to take the train from Shawville to Ottawa to study and play for the University. He played two more seasons for teams in the OCHL, with Ottawa Collegiate and Ottawa Montagnards before joining the Ottawa Senators in the 1923â€“24 season.