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Marlies.com

As the Marlies battle Peoria in Illinois (2-2 in the 2nd, Mueller and Engel have the goals for Toronto), here is your weekly Marlies release:

“Last Week:

The Marlies lost back-to-back games to their division rivals, the Rochester Americans last weekend. On Friday night in Rochester, the Marlies were blanked for the first time this season, 2-0. A.J. Jenks and Jordan Knackstedt scored the two Amerks goals; while Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season. Jussi Rynnas suffered the loss, making 25 saves on 27 shots.

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Keith Aulie has been returned to the Marlies after the rockiest performance of his young NHL career in Calgary playing – perhaps as no coincidence – alongside Brett Lebda. Aulie will not play tonight in Rochester, Dave Nonis tells MLHS. Here is your weekly Marlies release:

“Last Week:

The Marlies played three road games last week and went 1-2-0-0. They opened their week on Wednesday night with a 5-1 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Eric Tangradi netted a hat-trick in the Penguins win. Justin Hodgman scored the lone Marlie goal in the loss.

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Get your chance at some free Leafs tickets here.

Your weekly release from the Marlies:

“Last Week:

The Marlies hosted three games over the weekend and picked up a pair of victories over the Abbotsford Heat. On Friday night the Marlies defeated the Heat 6-4 at Ricoh Coliseum. Toronto got scoring from six different players and Jussi Rynnas made 31 saves for his third straight win. All four of Abbotsford’s goals were scored while on the power play.

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After improving to second in the North Division thanks to a 10-2-0-3 November record, the Marlies begin their December games with a back to back set against the Abbotsford Heat on Friday and Saturday. In the meantime, your weekly report from the Marlies:

“LAST WEEK:

The Marlies won all three games on their schedule last week. They opened their week on Wednesday morning with a 3-1 victory over Grand Rapids in their first school day game of the season. Christian Hanson, Joey Crabb and Marcel Mueller provided the scoring for Toronto. Mueller’s game- winning tally was his first career AHL/pro goal.

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Marlies.com

As the Marlies lead the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-0 in the third in today’s school day game (red hot Rynnas is in net, goals from Hanson, Mueller and Crabb), here’s your weekly report from the Marlies:

“The Marlies finished their 10-game road trip on Friday night in Lake Erie. During their longest road swing of the year, Toronto went 6-1-0-3 which included a nine-game point streak.

- Jussi Rynnas ranks third in the AHL in save percentage (0.939) and is fifth in goals against average (1.87). Rynnas has appeared in eight games during the month of November, posting a record of 3-2-2 to go along with a 1.28 goals against average and 0.960 save percentage. This month the Finnish born goalie hasn’t allowed more than two goals in any of his appearances.

On Tuesday it was announced Ryan Hamilton will miss 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. And so it starts… again.

Devastated by injuries and call-ups last season, the Marlies failed to make the playoffs for only the second time since the AHL club returned to Toronto. 425 man games lost. That equates to a 5.3 players sitting out each and every game of a 80 game season – so let’s say, five and a backup goaltender.

Already this season the Marlies have seen talented forwards Christian Hanson and Luca Caputi get the call up to the show, as well as physical defenceman Korbinian Holzer. Ryan Hamilton joins Simon Gysbers and Danny Richmond in the press box, all suffering from separate ailments. All this is on top of Jay Rosehill, Alex Foster and James Reimer who had already spent time on the day-to-day list.

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It is by no means the end of his career, strictly the next step.

On Monday, Nazem Kadri, 7th overall selection in the 2009 draft, was assigned to the Toronto Marlies. The player in whom a whole city had welcomed, became enamoured with and inked into their own starting lineup will not appear at ACC at all… at least not yet. It will prove to be a powerful lesson for the 19 year old, if not the whole city of Toronto; the Toronto Maple Leafs are about winning hockey games, not necessarily selling tickets.

With the pre-season nearly finished, the Leafs roster is beginning to take shape for 2010-11. Similarly, the Marlies are starting to become more defined as major league cuts are shuffled down to the minor league club. What is not so clearly defined on the Marlies is their goaltending situation. There will be a ton of competition between the four goalies in the Leafs minor pro system to get starts this season and those that do will have to seize the opportunity. Let’s take a look:

We’ve taken a look at the front end of the depth on the Marlies. Now it’s time to take a look at the back end. Defense is perhaps the strongest part of this year’s Marlies squad, mirroring the look of the Leafs in that respect. Let’s take a look:

Korbinian Holzer

Position: D

Bio: Holzer has more than just an awesome name. At age 22, Holzer has just come from an impressive DEL season in Germany, getting 22 points in 52 games. He has a sizable frame at 6’3” and 205 pounds and is not afraid to lay out a good check now and then. Holzer is likely the Leafs’ D prospect closest to earning a NHL spot, with a few games in place of injured players likely this season.

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And here you thought a magazine couldn't have add-on features.

Midway through the month of July, I had the privilege of chatting with Dave Poulin, Vice President of Hockey Operations with the Toronto Maple Leafs, for an article appearing in Maple Leafs Annual.

Having a professional background in publishing, I was not the least surprised that limitations on available space, plus design and layout constraints, resulted in the necessity to crop certain parts of the interview.

With the Annual due to hit stores next week, I thought I’d share a few of the “lost excerpts” from the cutting room floor in which Poulin offers his thoughts on the progress of the Toronto Marlies, as well as the emergence of the NCAA as a growing prospect pipeline.

Think of it as the equivalent of a “DVD extra” to your copy of MLA.

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 was no less than two months ago that I was pondering this same question, that of captaincy, and examining the same factors. Thinking of all the tangibles – speed, talent and scoring – along with attributes that are harder to judge – the ability to command the respect of the team, lead with strength of character and handle the Toronto media through success and failure. The lone difference is that last time, it was the Leafs.