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There's nothing quite like the story of the home-grown athlete. Everyone likes asking Oakville's John Mitchell what it's like to put on the Leafs sweater every day, or trying to find some way to relate to Jesse Blacker's being drafted by his local club. But when adversity is thrown into the mix, when a player has to go through some degree of hardship to make it to not only the level he wants to be, but for the team he wants to play for, that's when a story becomes a best seller.

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Alex and I will once again continue the Young Guns prospect draft. We are drafting: 6 9 forwards, 4 defensemen, 1 goaltender Total of 22 young players with a birthday year no later than 1986 (24 yrs old max) Contract status and/or cap hit will not be taken into account The draft will take place live in the comments section for all readers to follow, so be sure to come out and provide your two cents as it happens. More details after the jump. The intention of this exercise isn't as a fantasy draft, it's not the accumulation of points. We're essentially carving the...

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, Join us in the comments as Alex Tran and I go head-to-head carving up the Leafs youth. (Note**) - for the record I will be making the picks for each of us as Alex is boozing busting loose at some bar. I asked him if he was drunk, he said no, but his picks will tell show us the truth. In the spirit of ranking the organization's top young talent (prospects + established NHLers), Gus and I will be facing off tonight at approximately 10pm EST in a 1 on 1 drafting session of Maple Leaf players who are 24...

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In the spirit of ranking the organization's top young talent (prospects + established NHLers), Gus and I will be facing off tonight at approximately 10pm EST in a 1 on 1 drafting session of Maple Leaf players who are 24 years of age or younger (1986 birthdays and on). Gus IS the Pro Scouting Coordinator for Mckeen's Hockey, so I will have my work cut out for me, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. We will be selecting 6 forwards, 4 defensemen, and 1 goaltender each for a total of 22 young players with approximately 1 minute pauses between...

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The following is a live, up to the minute game blog featuring the rookie tournament game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Remember to hit refresh for the latest updates. Update: Lead head coach Dallas Eakins says that Jamie Devane will not play tonight.  Says he went head first into the boards in a collision last night with a Blackhawks player.  Eakins says tough guy Richard Greenop will draw into the lineup to make up for the muscle lost due to Devane's injury.  Ben Scrivens will start tonight for the Maple Leafs. Update: Penguins PR man Erik Heasley...

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As much as I tried to just sit back and enjoy the game as a fan last night, I couldn't help but take a few notes (this might have been because we ended up sitting among the scouts). So without further ado, here are a few additional observations from last night's tournament opener to supplement Derek Harmsworth's excellent coverage. - Aulie sitting out was no surprise as he was only cleared for contact recently.  No sense running the risk of re-injury for this sort of an event. His spot on the Marlies is already set. - No Liambas. For shame. I was kind of hoping to...

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The following is live, up to the minute coverage of today's rookie tournament game between the Ottawa Senators and the Chicago Blackhawks.  Remember to refresh the page to get the latest updates. Update: We're about one hour from hockey as the doors open at the JLC.  Final prep being done to the rink ahead of warm up, which will get going in about 30 minutes time.  For those in the area, I am jumping on FM96 again to talk Leafs around 2PM. Update: Lights are up, and warm up is set to begin here in London. Update: Erik Condra once again wearing...

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After the jump, Derek Harmsworth recaps last night's action in the NHL Rookie tournament, including locker room access, and looks ahead to today's action. Last Night's Leafs Win The Toronto Maple Leafs got off to a quick start last night, and it paced them to a 6-3 over the Chicago Blackhawks rookies in the opening game for both teams in the NHL Rookie Tournament in London, Ontario.  The Leafs got strong games from several key contributors including Greg McKegg, Sondre Olden, Kenny Ryan, and Nazem Kadri.  Jerry D'Amigo was also in the mix throughout the night. Following the game I had the...

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The following is an up to the minute, live game blog of tonight's rookie tournament game featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Remember to hit refresh to see the absolute latest updates. Update: Lights are out, clock is back up, and the zamboni is on the ice.  In about twenty minutes the Leafs should hit the ice for warm-up.  in the mean time, let's hear some predictions? Update 6:24: Back In The Saddle by Aerosmith cranks through the JLC and the Leafs have hit the ice for warm up! Update 6:25: First time seeing the new jerseys.  Look pretty...

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The following is live in game, up to the minute coverage of the rookie tournament game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators.  Remember to refresh the page for the latest updates.  Remember also to check out my Twitter for notes and pictures 1:25 PM: Both teams have taken to the ice for warmup.  I am not breaking any news here, but Jared Cowen is towering in person.  Also, Eric Tangradi looks like a pro amongst rookies out there. 1:30 PM: Penguins defenseman Reid McNeil, a London Knights player, just tripped on the ice during a drill, drawing a rousing response...

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Finally the day many of us have been waiting for has arrived.  The NHL Toronto Maple Leafs rookie tournament kicks off this afternoon in London, Ontario, and for many it's a chance to catch on ice hockey for the first time in quite a while. Today's action features the Pittsburgh Penguins rookies taking on the Ottawa Senators rookies in afternoon action.  Also on the bill today, the Maple Leafs rookies will play the Chicago Blackhawks rookies in the nightcap. Here is all you need to know about today's games. Game 1: Pittsburgh Vs Ottawa Puck drop: 2PM Coverage: Live blog here on the site,...

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Last Wednesday (September 1st), Toronto's MasterCard Centre for Excellence, the Maple Leafs' own practice facility, played host to the 2010 NHLPA Rookie Symposium in association with trading card leaders Upper Deck and Panini America. MLHS' own Gus Katsaros was in attendance, and has kindly provided audio from his own conversation, as well as portions of a larger media scrum Q&A, with Leafs' top prospect Nazem Kadri. With many fans expecting Nazem Kadri to crack the opening night lineup, there has naturally been much interest...

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The Toronto Maple Leafs will host their rookie tournament this year in London, Ontario from September 11th to the 14th, and Maple Leafs Hot Stove will have unprecedented, wall-to-wall coverage of the event. Join us here for live game blogs, game previews, game reviews, exclusive interviews, and more!  Today, we will look at the top ten Leafs players who will be worth paying extra close attention to at this weekend's event. 1) Nazem Kadri, C A relative no brainer here.  Like Eric Tangradi for Pittsburgh, and Kyle Beach for Chicago, a lot of eyes will be fixated on Nazem Kadri this weekend,...

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The Toronto Maple Leafs 2010 rookie tournament is coming to London, Ontario and Maple Leafs Hot Stove is pleased to announce that we will have exclusive, unprecedented coverage of the event! Just confirmed earlier tonight, I will be in attendance at the John Labatt Centre for the duration of the tournament, providing up to date news from the rookie tournament for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as well as the other competing teams (Pittsburgh, Ottawa, and Chicago.) As part of our exclusive coverage, I am pleased to announce that we will have game day previews, game day recaps, live blogs, live tweeting,...

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According to numerous sources, including the Canadian Press, the Toronto Maple Leafs and prospect Jerry D'Amigo are expected to finalize a three year entry level deal sometime this week.  The move would see D'Amigo forfeit his NCAA eligibility and likely join the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, who own his CHL rights. D'Amigo, drafted in the sixth round of last year's entry draft, has quickly rocketed to the top of the prospect depth chart over the past year.  He played an integral role in the USA's World Junior upset over Canada this past January in Saskatchewan.

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It's that time of year again. The Canadian World Junior Development Camp for the 2011 tournament in Buffalo is under way, as the Canadians try to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss against D'Amigo and the Americans. Here are some thoughts on the Leafs' prospects' chances of making their respective world junior teams: - Bradley Ross is the lone Maple Leaf prospect invited to Canada's Development Camp, but is sitting out the on-ice scrimmages due to a pulled groin. Barring a terrible season, he should have a good chance making the team in order to assume the agitator/pest role vacated...

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The Maple Leafs announced on Wednesday afternoon that they had come to terms on a two year entry-level contract with 22 year old free agent forward Marcel Mueller. Mueller is a 6'4 212 lb power forward who has spent the past 4 seasons playing against men in the top German league. He had a terrific '09-'10 breakout campaign that saw him record 56 points in 53 games played, good for 13th overall in league scoring. Although it has Mueller has been rumored to be a target of NHL teams for a couple of seasons now, the recent transfer agreement reached...

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Just a month ago, the Chicago Blackhawks were the envy of the National Hockey League.  Having finished off the Philadelphia Flyers in six games courtesy of a Patrick Kane overtime goal, the Hawks had climbed to the top of the mountain, and had risen out of what could once have been considered obscurity years earlier, to build a winning team, and break the Stanley Cup drought that loomed over the franchise for so long. And while many general managers stood in jealousy and envy of Stan Bowman and his management team for the feat they had just accomplished, not one...

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Some draft day recollections from 12 months ago.

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Yesterday was a big day in Leafs Nation.  And I think I speak for all fans when I say it's about time.  While two teams are currently battling for the opportunity to lift Lord Stanley's Cup, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been forced to sit on the sidelines and watch, bide their time with the other half of the league who wasn't fortunate enough to make into the NHL's playoffs. And while they have kept themselves busy, and Brian Burke has shown a penchant for rarely letting his team slip into the background, a lot of hype has been leading...