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John Mitchell capturing fastest skater honours was the revelation of today’s team skills competition. I could’ve predicted the team with Jason Blake and Dominic Moore would’ve won the event but I’m surprised Mitchell clocked in with the best individual time. Here’s the team press release containing the results:
Nothing beats slaughtering Cindy “headjerk” Crosby and his fellow flightless Birds. Nothing.
I think we’ve come to learn that – play your back-ups against the Blue and White as much as you want on any other night – don’t underestimate the Maple Leafs if it’s Saturday night. The Leafs now boast a 9-5-1 record on Hockey Nights in Canada as compared to their 12-20-9 record during the rest of the week. So as much as they may exacerbate your already depressing work week, at least they don’t ruin your weekends. On this Valentine’s day affair, the lowly Leafs were by no means their lovable selves from the opposition’s perspective.
In October 2008, a reporter set the Barilkosphere into a tizzy with a certain writing. The intention was simple, a deliberately cruel finger pointing at Leafs Nation.
The backlash was tremendous, and it inspired Pension Plan Puppets to trigger a massive response to the piece. It shows the unifying force behind the internet, allowing fans the opportunity to voice dissent.
Some of the news making the rounds this morning in Russia includes the trade of one of the league’s top young defenders, Leaf prospect Dmitri Vorobiev from Tolyatti Lada to Salavat Yulaev Ufa.Â This trade moves Vorobiev from Lada, a small market team bottom feeder toÂ a larger market team currently sitting atop the league standings. It should allow Dmitri the opportunity to get some more recognition amongst the hockey world as well as provide him with the chance at a deep KHL playoff run.
In a season geared more towards the June entry draft than an April playoff berth, and with the World Junior Championships, the annual showcase of young hockey talent, stealing the hockey headlines as of late – at least in Canada, – it’s hard not to start dwelling on the possibilities available for the Maple Leafs when June rolls around. There are perhaps more imminent Leaf matters at hand in the form of the changes Brian Burke is expected to execute in the nearer few months, but I think I speak on behalf of all of Leaf Nation when I say last June, the time at which the Leafs welcomed Luke Schenn to the organization, was one of the most exciting and promising moments for the fanbase in recent times. This June will hopefully bring about similar jubilation and promise as Burke adds at least one more prized first-round pick to the fold of the re-building Maple Leafs.
A few quick thoughts from tonight’s game via the blackberry…
-Firstly, a soporific affair inside the ACC tonight.
-Jiri Tlusty had troubles settling into the game and looked edgy. He handled the puck like a hand grenade, likely due to nerves. It looked to be a result of his trying too hard to impress.
Anton Stralman has been sent down to the Marlies presumably to accommodate the return of Jonas Frogren off the injury reserve come Tuesday against New Jersey (or possibly because he was sitting the press box & not playing). In keeping with the “if you come to play you stay” mantra that Ron Wilson has been preaching, Jaime Sifers’ run with the big club has been extended.
Stralman was outwardly displeased last time he was demoted to the AHL, which makes one a little uneasy about his potential reaction this time around. Due to waiver restrictions, it was going to have to be one of Sifers or Stralman, and there’s no doubt Sifers is deserving of an extended stay with the big club based on his performance so far.
For your perusal:
After enjoying his much-deserved holiday, Cliff Fletcher will sit down with Brian Burke in early January to structure his new role within the organization as per the man himself. It is expected he’ll assume a role in the senior adviser capacity.
The Toronto Star is reporting that Jonas Frogren and Mike Van Ryn are with the Leafs on their west coast trip, and that both have been skating well.
It is also being reported that Jason Blake (listed as headaches even though we all know it is post-concussion syndrome) is ready to play, and that Matt Stajan is winning The War On The Flu Bug.
Quote of the Week
“I feel great … I’m as normal as I’m ever going to be.”
- Jason Blake, talking about his recovery from an upper body injury.
An ailing crop of defenders, a change of scenery, and a night off.
Drafted in the 5th round by the Canadiens in 2004, dealt for a 2nd round pick in the 2009 Entry Draft and 5th round selection Greg Pateryn in 2008. Have the Leafs made the biggest impact trade of the season?
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 Maple Leafs are ready to set the upcoming season stage for the Detroit Red Wings tonight at the Joe Louis arena and quite a few regulars are ready to pull the jersey back on.
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.
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.
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
Theyâ€™re out there. Everywhere you look.
The predictions that place the Leafs anywhere from 10th to 14th in the Eastern conference for the upcoming NHL season. Most hockey pundits are not giving the Maple Leafs much of a shot at a playoff spot, and based on recent history with the club, they have every reason not to.
>>>DISCUSS IT HERE
It wasnâ€™t more than a year ago that head coach Paul Maurice announced his team would make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup. Players such as Simon Gamache and Tony Salmelainen were recruited from Europe by general manager John Ferguson Jr. and provided solid try outs. Colaiacovo was announced to not be in full form for the season opener, which we later discovered he would not be ready until late December, after arthroscopic knee surgery and an awkward fall in a pre-season practice after attempting a slap shot.
>>>DISCUSS IN THE FORUMS
Every professional hockey organization, particularly one in the Leafs’ current plight, must exhaust every possible avenue when it comes to importing young talent into their system.
In addition to the chance to evaluate the progress of your developing prospects front-and-centre, the upcoming rookie tournament provides a valuable opportunity to invite undrafted youngsters for a 3 game trial run. Last year this event proved fruitful for the Maple Leafs, who uncovered a hidden gem by the name of Darryl Boyce. The Summerside native was already preparing for life-after-hockey at the University of New Brunswick when, after a fantastic championship-winning campaign with U of NB he was signed to a minor-league contract and invited by John Ferguson Jr. to play in the 2007 rookie tournament in Kitchener.
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