With the final bell about to ring season most fans would be happy to forget – although the impending draft all but dictates they most assuredly will not – the Maple Leafs will officially enter the offseason five campaigns removed from the playoffs at the conclusion of Saturday night’s game in Montreal.
Unlike previous years, however, this season has revealed to fans — amidst the rubble of far too many losses — a silver lining of sorts: the promise of youth.
Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs will host the Atlanta Thrashers at the Air Canada Center. Atlanta is hoping to catch the Boston Bruins for the 8th seed in the East and snag a post-season berth, while the Maple Leafs are looking to continue a playoff of their own – the quest to get out of the bottom five.
NOTE: Newly signed Brayden Irwin will not make his debut tonight. He will likely see action Thursday or Saturday.
The Torontosaurus Rex for Week 23 is fitting and also notoriously absent from the only Leafs extra time loss in the last seven overtime/shootout games. In that loss, the Maple Leafs and Penguins tied a dubious NHL record, one night after the Leafs/Rangers surpassed 100 overtime games in the NHL this season.
I have been listening and watching Toronto media members discuss the Maple Leafs and am honestly beyond annoyed at their commentary and observations around the Leafs performance since the trade deadline.Â I am not even certain if this is “blog worthy” (shameless “sponge worthy” reference), but I have officially reached my “B.S.” tolerance threshold.
Submitted by Michael Stephens (a.k.a.Â Baumgartner)
Apparently Sidney Crosby still lives with Mario Lemieux. Anyone else find that weird? Dude, youâ€™re almost 23. Youâ€™ve got a Stanley cup ring, an Olympic gold medal, an 8.7 million dollar per year salary (to say nothing of the endorsements). Damn man, move out already. But I digress…
Tonight, the Buds and Habs are set to battle it out and put their win streaks on the line. The Leafs are 5-1-0 in their last 6 outings, while the Canadiens are riding an impressive 6 game string of victories. With Toronto now over 0.500 at home (15-14-5), they are looking to play the role of heartbreakers this season, and what better way to continue doing so then by throwing a big fat L at Montreal tonight?
They’re not only funny, but legendary. True comedic (and patriotic) genius.
I was proud to add a prospect scouting report to his creative visuals for a Tuesday Prospect Report. Leading up to the draft in June, we’ll be looking at a Leafs prospect in a unique way. the first one features newest Leaf, Luca Caputi originally on the Bloge Salming site.
A reminder, I will be Live blogging the Leafs/Bruins game from the ACC press box tonight. Make sure to come on by and have some fun with all of us at Maple Leafs Hot Stove. Jonas Gustavsson gets the start and according to MLHS’s own Daniel Santos Mikhail Grabovski also returns to the lineup from a wrist injury.
From Damien Cox: “This isn’t how the Maple Leafs hoped Mikhail Grabovski would be spending his Olympic break. The 26-year-old centre was arrested at 2:30 a.m. Saturday by Vancouver police and kept in jail overnight after allegedly being involved in a street altercation. Grabovski was apparently released to his parents at about 9 a.m. Saturday.”
In the wake of Sunday’s blockbuster trades, one cannot help but wonder what’s next for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Who’s next to go? Who stays?
In any case, I think that it’s pretty safe to say that this season is a write-off. We’re not making any moves to make a run at the playoffs this season. So, let’s look forward and take a look at what the Maple Leafs should look like next season.
Per the Toronto Star, it appears as though Tyler Bozak may be the latest player to get a shot at centring the Maple Leafs’ top line alongside Phil Kessel and Nik Kulemin, beginning tonight against Carolina. Â Â With Kessel having recorded only 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 12 games, the Leafs are desperately hoping this change may be the tonic required to get their star winger back on track.
With the World Junior Championship gold medal game taking centre stage tonight (7:30pm, TSN), Leafs’ fans can be forgiven for overlooking tonight’s matchup against an inconsistent Florida Panthers squad (7:00pm, Sportsnet).
Coming off a disastrous mini-road trip out West, featuring losses to the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, the Maple Leafs will look to inject some confidence into their lineup with a victory against the visiting Panthers, who sit only 4 points ahead of the Leafs in the Eastern Conference standings.
Via Elliotte Friedman of HNIC: Mikhail Grabovski out 6 weeks with a fractured wrist. Wayne Primeau out 2-4 weeks with a knee injury.
With two regular centres now knocked out of the lineup, it might finally be time for Tyler Bozak to see extended time with the big club. Bozak has had a rough season so far in the AHL for various reasons, and boasts 18 points in 28 games for the Marlies on the year. John Mitchell has been practicing with the club and figures to back in the lineup for Tuesday’s game at home against the Panthers.
Tickets Note: Got a pair of purples to the Panthers game on Tuesday night and won’t be able to attend. Looking to move them at cost, so drop me an email if interested.
The Leafs face up against their old bench boss Pat Quinn tonight hoping to get back on a winning streak of some sort.Â The big lineup change seems to be a demotion for Grabovski to the fourth line.Â Rickard Wallin benefits from Mikhail’s demotion with a undeserved look on the second line.
Viktor Stalberg has been recalled by the Toronto Maple Leafs today. Stalberg is the leading scorer for the Marlies, with 8 goals and 13 assists for 21 points in 19 games. There are rumors circulating that he will take over Jason Blake’s position on the 2nd line with Mikhail Grabovski and Niklas Hagman. There is also the possibility that Jonas Gustavsson will get one of the Leafs starts in goal as they prepare for 3 games in 4 nights beginning tomorrow night in Buffalo. Micheal A. Aldred [email protected]
For the second time in a week, the Maple Leafs have felt the wrath of the Boston Bruins on home ice, only this time there were distinct differences from Saturday’s 7-2 beat down.
The Leafs, after sleepwalking through two periods of the hockey game, decided to bring their game in the third and made things interesting with goals by Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin to pull them within a goal of the Bruins. Â A late, costly penalty by Leafs winger Jason Blake sealed their fate however, as the penalty kill sagged once again, and Mark Recchi scored with under three minutes left to ice the game for the Bruins.
The Toronto Maple Leafs continue their 3 game road swing tonight as they visit Columbus to take on Rick Nash and his Blue Jackets. The Leafs will be without both Jonas Gustavsson and Carl Gunnarsson for the trip, and Vesa Toskala will be in the lineup as MacDonald’s backup for the tilt.
The Toronto Maple Leafs begin a 3 game road trip tonight as they visit the long time rival Montreal Canadiens tonight for an Original Six Battle. This is the third time these two clubs have met this season, with Montreal taking the first two games by scores of 4-3 in overtime, and 5-4 in a shootout. The Habs will celebrate their 100th anniversary on Friday against another original six club in the Boston Bruins, but will first have to deal with the always threatening but rarely scoring Leafs.
The Leafs hope to get their first three-game winning streak of the season tonight when the Buffalo Sabres roll into the Air Canada Centre. Â Toronto has gone five straight games without a regulation loss (3-0-2) and hope to continue their stretch of strong offensive performances (3.8 goals per game). Â They’ll be in tough against a Sabres team that is back on the winning track after a slight skid, supported by one of the hottest goaltenders this season in Ryan Miller.