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Tonight will be a Battle of Ontario, as the Toronto Maple Leafs travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators in a Northeast Division bout. Vesa Toskala will get the nod in goal for the Leafs, while Pascal Leclaire will get the start for the Sens.
Update: Brendan Shanahan Officially Retires.
The Leafs were down early as rookie phenom Jonas Gustavsson was lit up for 3 goals on 5 shots. Poor defensive coverage, a terrible line change, and a lucky bounce on a shot that Gustavsson likely should have had forced the Leafs to swap the goaltenders and bring in Vesa Toskala. The goaltenders tapped sticks at the bench in the shuffle. “Tag, you’re it” can be described at the outcome.
… they didn’t give up the fight.
Maple Leafs’ fans should be very pleased with the effort displayed in last night’s 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Â Although another loss is disappointing on the surface, there is much to feel good about in regard to the team’s play following a week’s break. Â It is not often that one can look at a loss as a game to instill confidence; however, last night’s game should serve to do exactly that, among both players and fans alike.
0-2-1 after 3 games, and the sky is falling.Â Â Or so chicken little would have you believe, anyway.
3 games in and panic?Â Â Seriously?Â Â You’d think the Leafs just traded away a handful of high picks for a relatively-unknown goaltender with an injury history.Â Â Wait, scratch that — they did that a couple years ago and as I recall the move was far more heralded than denounced, at the time.
Which is exactly my point:Â you can’t know, early on, exactly how things will turn out.
It seems just a few months after an investigation was done on the Maple Leafs regarding the Vancouver Canucks Sedin twins prior to free agency day, the Leafs face yet another potential charge for tampering. Once again, it involves the Canucks, and Vancouver’s GM Mike Gillis is not standing back this time.
Given the early-season struggles of incumbent starting netminder Vesa Toskala, speculation is mounting that Jonas Gustavsson could receive his first NHL start as early as Tuesday night when the Leafs face their Ontario rivals, the Ottawa Senators.
Early speculation is Toskala may not be all the way back, mentally or physically, from the groin and hip surgeries he endured last season. While it is obviously far too early to annoint Gustavsson the starter for the rest of the season (he has yet to play a full game in the NHL), it is not unreasonable to expect that in the wake of Toskala’s struggles he could receive an extended look, in the form of more early-season starts than were initially planned.
It feels strange to have the similar attitude of Bill Watters on Leafs Lunch towards prized free agent acquisition, Mike Komisarekâ€™s regular season debut against his former club. But â€¦ here we are.
With the new season quickly approaching, the Maple Leafs have brought backÂ the old commercial in which fans talk about their favourite Leafs goal of all-time (you know the one, right?). So it got me thinking, what’s my favourite Maple Leafs goal of all-time?
Borschevsky versus the Red Wings in 1993? Nope. Gilmour’s overtime wrap-around against the Blues that same year? No, not that one either. My favourite Leaf goal of all-time is Steve Thomas’ OT winner in Game 5 versus the Senators in the 2000 playoffs. Now the overtime goals by Borschevsky and Gilmour may have been bigger, but I have to put Stumpy’s winner at the top of my list because I saw it in person.
Some different thoughts for the day, including some fantasy changes for Leafs players, another fantasy show appearance, and addressing the talk about Kadri staying in Toronto this season.
In the final game of the rookie tournament, the Leafs’ rookies were beaten soundly — to the tune of 7-1 — by their Ontario rivals, the Ottawa Senators.
Although I was not able to attend this game in person, fellow Leafs die-harder ‘Bell’ was in attendance for all of the games and has kindly provided some thoughts about the action (or was it inaction?) at the Aud last night, and the tournament as a whole.
Wednesday night’s tilt between the Maple Leafs and Penguins was by far the sloppiest game the Leafs have played thus far, with a 4-1 Pittsburgh victory the end result.
Simply put, the players looked as though they lacked energy from the outset. Â Was it fatigue from the toll of three games in four days? Â Or was it simply a poor outing, as is prone to happen to all teams, from time to time? Â The answer to that may lie in Thursday evening’s game against the Senators.
As we prepare for some much needed hockey viewing this weekend, here are a couple helpful tidbits to know for the Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament beginning this Sunday in Kitchener:
- 7 pm ET Sunday, Sept 6th vs. Pittsburgh
- 2 pm ET Monday, Sept 7th vs. Boston
- 7pm ET Wednesday, Sept 9th vs. Pittsburgh
- 7pm ET Thursday, Sept 10th vs. Ottawa
The TV Coverage: The Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday games will be aired on Rogers TV, that means channels 10 and 63 for all Rogers customers.
Making the Trip Down: The Comfort Inn in Kitchener, located at 5 minutes from the arena, is having a special discount rate for the Rookie Tournament. The rate is $96 per night, and includes free parking, breakfast and wireless internet.
- Phone: (519) 894-3500
- Toll Free Phone: (866) 373-4910
- Address: 2899 King St. E. @ Weber St.
- Kitchener, ON, CA, N2A 1A6
Hope this makes things easier for everyone!
Last season in a draft, I chose Evgeni Nabokov for an H2H league organized by James Mirtle. It seemed early, but I had reasons. To win in fantasy GMs must find an edge using unconventional analysis and strategy.
That’s what I try to do.
Facts don’t lie and I liked Nabokov (and Backstrom from Minnesota) better than any goalie last season. It’s also why Tim Thomas ranked higher. This season both Nabby and Thomas weren’t ranked as high. Maybe the Bruins and Sharks struggle this season.
Why? Find out here.
There is a lot going on Â around the league these days. Â Â Rumours about Kaberle and potential deals abound, a Kessel signing is no longer imminent, Heatley is still a Senator, and the NHL remains hot over the Hossa contract. Â Oh, and did I mention the league still has a bounty on the head of Jim Balsillie?
All of these stories have been playing out for months now, and none appear headed toward a resolution prior to the start of the new season. Â Â It is safe to assume that despite the vast quantity of reporting devoted to these stories throughout the offseason, each will continue to dominate the headlines on days where the box scores do not.
The Edmonton Oilers are said to be meeting face-to-face with disgruntled Ottawa Senators forward Dany Heatley tonight in a last-ditch attempt to convince him to accept their trade offer.
Update: Heatley putting trade on hold – again.
The Cammalleri camp has countered an offer from Brian Burke… working on figures. Sportsnet now reporting: Ottawa, New York, Toronto in on Cammalleri.
Some quick rumour updates entering the final stretch before the free agent spending spree begins.
Five trades that almost happened.Â Count ‘em, five separate deals. Â So close, yet so far away.
A very good source has it that Brian Burke saw five separate draft day deals fall apart in the last minute of each.Â Â He worked his tail off on each, only to see the other teams back out in the end for a myriad of reasons.Â Yet despite these disappointments,Â Burke was still able to land a very good player in Nazim Kadri at #7, so the draft wasn’t a total loss by any means.
With only one day remaining before the draft, the NHL rumour mill is of course running rampant.
Here is an update on the latest “non-source” chatter I’ve been hearing regarding draft moves, trade possibilities, and free agent speculation as it may or may not pertain to our boys in blue.
This time of year pretty much everyone is doing a mock draft of some sort.Â So, with one week to go until the Entry Draft, I figure it’s time I chip in with my two cents on what may or may not unfold with the top 10 picks come June 26.
Note that the draft projections listed here are made based on current draft positions, and are not reflective of any possible trades involving the top 10 picks.
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