2013 Preseason

2013 Preseason

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Only three teams in the preseason had more points than the Leafs (Boston, Washington, Dallas), and you know what’s the best part about that? Nobody really cares. It was only a few years ago that some kids named Bozak, Stalberg, Kadri, and Gustavsson wowed Leafs Nation with a strong preseason and had fans thinking “hey, maybe this team is better than we thought.” We all know how that ended. This preseason though, nobody has really bothered to drum up the Leafs results or tout it as some big accomplishment and momentum boost heading into the season. Maybe it’s because the Clarkson...

Leafs vs Wings

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The Maple Leafs and the Red Wings both decided to save their best for the regular season and ice watered down rosters for the last game of the pre-season. Beyond that, I will spare you a lengthy introduction and jump right to the game: #1: Prospects Look Hungry to Start The first period opens with a welcome increase in pace compared to the end of last night's effort. The kids know they are on Hockey Night in Canada and they look to have brought their 'A' games with them. D'Amigo creates scoring chances on his first three shifts with a...

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Just one more of these before it's time for the real deal. With a back to back wrapping up the preseason schedule leading into a back to back to start the season on Tuesday/Wednesday, the Leafs may opt for a rookie heavy lineup tonight in what Randy Carlyle has described as an opportunity to assess some call-up options. The Leafs recalled the following players from the Marlies this morning (not clear how many will play): #Leafs have recalled Spencer Abbott, Jerry D'Amigo, Andrew MacWilliam, Greg McKegg & Stuart Percy from the #Marlies Saturday morning. — Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) September 28, 2013   Carlyle was...

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The Maple Leafs dropped a 5-2 decision to the Swedish Olympic team Detroit Red Wings tonight. While firm judgement should never be made based on preseason, many of the goals tonight were a testament to the skill that the Red Wings possess and a poor effort from the Leafs. It will be great to renew one of Toronto's oldest rivalries this season against one of the league's oldest set of players. Some notes from tonight's tilt: -Whether it be his trademark pinpoint accuracy (shots and passes) or his right-handed presence on the powerplay, Cody Franson is a noticeable difference maker...

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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...

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Dave Poulin stopped by the Brady and Walker Show on the Fan590 this morning (you can listen to the full audio here), touching on the subjects in the title above as well as JvR, the goaltending battle, Cody Franson, and the Leafs' cap situation. On JvR's impressive preseason: "Even since the moment he's joined us, we've seen a change in JvR. I think he's just scratching the surface, I really do. The goal last night, which we've seen a couple of times now... the hand skills, and I think it's the combination of the mind going is growing into the body...

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James Reimer stood on his head but a plethora of turnovers proved deadly for the Toronto Maple Leafs , as they fell 3 – 2 to the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.  Reimer made 34 saves while Senators starter Robin Lehner made 25 in defeat.  James van Riemsdyk scored an absolute beauty and Dion Phaneuf collected the other tally for the Leafs who are now 4 – 1 – 1 in the preseason. Because the league is hilarious, Phil Kessel served the first game of his suspension for his Paul Bunyan antics on Sunday while David Clarkson took his spot...

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The Leafs will ice their top 6 forwards and what seems to be (as of today) their opening night defence group against a fairly weak Senators lineup in game #6 of preseason at the Air Canada Center tonight. Nikolai Kulemin will flanking Kadri in David Clarkson’s projected spot. I think he’s the best fit for filling that role in Clarkson’s absence; of all of the productive line combinations Kadri centered last season, I thought the best iteration was him with Lupul and Kadri. Kulemin played one of his best stretches of hockey since his 30-goal campaign in his stint...

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Nothing to see here. Just a boring Sunday night game in the middle of preseason. Except for a line brawl featuring 212 penalty minutes, three game misconducts, and a goalie fight: Brendan Shanahan, have fun with this one. The story of tonight's Phil Kessel vs. John Scott skirmish, and the ensuing brawl, starts with the destruction of Corey Tropp by Jamie Devane a few minutes earlier. The two head coaches did not respond to this event the same way. Ron Rolston sent out John Scott, expecting more rough stuff to come. Randy Carlyle countered with Carter Ashton, Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel...

Colton Orr

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It’s a quick turnaround for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they play the home leg of their preseason series against the Buffalo Sabres tonight.  Jonathan Bernier will get the start anyway for the Leafs tonight, and Joffrey Lupul is expected to make his preseason debut.   Here’s the primer for tonight. - The Buds won last night’s contest against the Sabres 3 – 2 after a protracted shootout.  All things considered, the Leafs were lucky to eke out a win in the First Niagara Center last night.  Their play was sloppy, and they were heavily outshot.  But a gutsy third period...

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It was technically-poor hockey, but between the scrums, fights and disorganized play, this was a pretty fun game to watch. Rather fitting for the game to end in a 15-round shootout that included this: http://youtu.be/N-2XWKiJTgM Note Enroth slashing at Ranger for trying this, making it all the more awesome. This was a messy, chippy game for the most part, a product of rookies trying to impress and the vets generally looking half-interested. The Leafs looked terrible for the first 40 minutes and deserved the 2-0 deficit, but they started to come on strong in the third period. A good shift from a...

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The first Hockey Night in Canada of the season. Feels good man. Here's the rundown of the storylines going into tonight's matchup vs. the Sabres: - Riding in on a hot streak of 2 goals and 4 points in his first two preseason appearances, Mason Raymond will play beside Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel. Even though it won't stick past this game, Raymond and Kessel's skating abilities sharing the ice together should be fun to watch. Doug McLean's report of an all-but-signed $925,000 one-year contract are apparently less than accurate according to the more reliable insiders, but the two sides are...

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The Leafs took a 3-2 decision in tonight's preseason match on a late scrappy goal by Dave Bolland (he's good at those). There was some injury concerns after Nazem Kadri blocked a shot with one of his patented nifty mittens, but early reports indicate it is just a bruise. This was a preseason game, so it was far from pretty. Players come into these games with significantly different levels of motivation, skill and rustiness.  While many look at skill as the most significant of these qualities, consistent high level success in the NHL necessitates enormous amounts of motivation and effort....

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Based on the personnel on offer, preseason could become at least a little more interesting tonight. Randy Carlyle will be icing a few line combinations of intrigue, including a potential "shut down line" combination of Dave Bolland, Mason Raymond and Nikolai Kulemin. How Raymond fares on that unit will be a worthwhile talking point; this seems to be, based on the projected opening night lineup, the spot he is vying for. The line looks good on paper, with a nice balance of two-way acumen, speed, and some grit between Kulemin and Bolland.  The other line of interest presents an opportunity for...

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Jesse Blacker and Tyler Biggs will join Marlies training camp after getting released from the Leafs training camp roster today. Tyler Biggs looked like a non-factor in his preseason game, but Jesse Blacker was pretty good in the preseason opener and I'm a little surprised he isn't going to get another game. Among those on the outside looking in and vying for a spot on the blue line, Korbinian Holzer, Andrew MacWilliam and TJ Brennan remain with the team. Stuart Percy has not yet appeared in a preseason game but also remains on the training camp roster for the time...

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The Leafs dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Philadelphia Flyers in a sloppy second game of preseason. Remarkably, Phil Kessel took 6 minutes worth of aggressive stick infractions. Becoming known for eating up his former team, James van Riemsdyk opened the scoring after cutting off a pass on the left board in the neutral zone. He got in behind the Flyer defenceman and roofed it far side on a goaltender named “Heeter.” Answering for the other side of the transaction, Luke Schenn tied the game at 1s with seconds remaining in the first frame. Mark Fraser awkwardly tried to block...

Flyers at Maple Leafs

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The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre this evening in the second game of a preseason back-to-back. They won the 1st game in London, 4-3. The Flyers are splitting their team in half and are playing two exhibition games on the same day, with one game in Toronto against the Maple Leafs and another at home against the Capitals. That's unusual, and will likely benefit Toronto as they are dressing their full first line, Clarkson, Bernier, Kulemin, and will have some additional speed and offensive ability on the backend with Rielly and Gardiner in...

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The Leafs kicked off preseason with a 4-3 win over the Flyers. Of course, you shouldn't read too far into game one of the preseason with only three or four regulars playing for the Leafs, but it is fun to get a look at the likes of Gauthier, Rielly, Leivo and other youth playing all situations hockey at a higher level. This was more of a rookie tournament lineup than it was an NHL lineup. Among the clear cut NHLers, Kadri (who always wants to put on a show, especially in his hometown), Raymond and Ranger were motivated to make an...

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Expected Flyers' lineup: Goalies: Steve Mason, Anthony Stolarz, Cal Heeter Defensemen: Mark Alt, Bruno Gervais, Hal Gill, Erik Gustafsson, Nicklas Grossmann, Oliver Lauridsen, Andrej Meszaros, Luke Schenn Forwards: Brandon Alderson, Tyler Brown, Doug Clarkson, Adam Hall, Scott Hartnell, Ben Holmstrom, Scott Laughton, Tye McGinn, Matt Read, Zac Rinaldo, Brayden Schenn, Max Talbot, Nick Cousins, Rob Bordson, Marcel Noebels, Jay Rosehill Randy Carlyle after this morning's practice: Maple Leafs Hot Stove Season Previews: - Forwards by Anthony Petrielli - Defence by mORRganRielly - Goaltending by Aaron Chan