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John Mitchell


    You couldn’t help but feel the Southwest Coast whammy was afflicting the Maple Leafs once again as Alexander Frolov streaked in alone and beat Vesa Toskala less than a minute into the three game road spread.


      What a fantastic game last night. A thrilling third period comeback on Hockey Night in Canada at home against an Original Six franchise. Doesn’t get much better than that! We’ve been seeing a lot of this exciting new hockey lately, haven’t we? A great comeback victory against New Jersey on the road, arguably the best game since the Montreal knockout on the last game of the season at home 2 years back, followed by this doozy of a game against the Rangers. Gotta love it!

      Let’s talk about the guy who kickstarted last night’s comeback, John Mitchell.


        This evening’s 3-2 loss was another tough one to swallow for a Maple Leafs team that largely outfought the Tampa Bay Lightning throughout the course of the game. There appeared to be only one real area where the Maple Leafs fell short in this one… star power. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Vincent Lecavalier pulled off a few moments of magic which proved decisive. Backstopped by a stingy Mike Smith, the Lightning were sturdy defensively, but on top of their 39 shots on target, the Leafs missed the 6×4 on an inexcusable 19 occasions (believe it or not, only 2 were off the stick of Jason Blake).


          In the ultimate act of callousness by league schedulers, the Maple Leafs will open their regular season account inside the Joe Louis Arena, where they will endure the pre-game banner raising ceremony for the Stanley Cup winning Detroit Red Wings.


            The Leafs are looking to put up a strong performance after back to back stable appearances against the defending champs. With a similar roster, it will be interesting to see how Toskala fairs in net behind the crop.


              A few notes on the Leafs recent demotions, Wednesday’s roster tidbits and a quick review of Monday night’s affair with the Blues.


                Coughing up the lead late two games in a row is obviously a bit disconcerting considering the history of this team in that respect. But this pre-season is about shaking lingering habits from the former era and, as PPP points out, this is the perfect opportunity for Ron Wilson to kick some of these tendencies. That’s not to mention the fact that tonight’s collapse was largely the result of some rookie mistakes on the part of John Mitchell and Justin Pogge, who played great games otherwise.


                  >>>DISCUSS IT HERE
                  It’s time to take a closer look at the Maple Leafs roster for the upcoming season. As much as some of the younger players have performed well this pre-season, there seems to be too many one way contracts with a death grip on much of the opening night roster.


                    From Micheal Aldred…

                    The Toronto Maple Leafs will be watching Luke Schenn with intensity tonight as the rookie is ready to show the world what he can do against arguably the best in the world in Evgeni Malkin. Not far behind him will goalie Justin Pogge be looking to do the same thing. Tonight, however, there will be a stronger cast on the ice for the buds.


                      >>>DISCUSS IT HERE

                      I sat down to watch the first period just before the remote was ripped from my hands by my girlfriend, who basically took the 42” plasma hostage for the premier of Dancing With The Stars. I think I just threw up in my mouth.

                      So, I saw the first period in relatively high definition before watching sporadically on the 27” tube-style in the master bedroom as the second and third periods unfolded.


                        It certainly seemed like a new era tonight in the ACC as a much more motivated and industrious Leafs team took to the ice and out-played the Buffalo Sabres in a 7-4 win for the new-look Blue and White.

                        Neither team could honestly say they put forth the best they could offer, but that’s the nature of these early pre-season games. It still can be said that there were some promising signs from a Leafs stand-point.