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This is the official game thread for the fourth game of our Holiday Contest giving you all the chance to win some Leafs tickets! Â You should all know the drill by now. Â We have over 70 eligible contestants and it promises to be a close battle until the very end (January 9th to be exact).
*Standings, tips, and more will be up later today. EDIT: Might as well include our big win over the Sens! Look here tomorrow.*
This is a reminder to all readers interested in winning Leafs tickets in the MLHS Giveaway Contest. Â We’ve played 3 contest games so far (with a whopping 14 more to go) and have over 200 active players!
However, if you want to be eligible for the big prize you need to quickly e-mail [email protected] as the deadline is the end of today (Sunday) for your submission!
Here’s the thread for the third game of the MLHS Giveaway Contest! Washington rolls into the ACC after a thrilling come-from-behind win over the Hurricanes last night. Â The Leafs will be hoping to capitalize (pun intended) on a tired team that didn’t get into Toronto until early this afternoon.
Remember, to actually be eligible to win these tickets, you need to send your 100-word piece to [email protected] by the end of tomorrow! Â If we don’t receive one by then, your point total will no longer be tracked. Â Continue reading to find out the details of this awesome opportunity.
The first game of Get F’ed With Ed – the MLHS Holiday Giveaway Contest Â is a wrap with the Leafs taking it 3-2 over the Islanders. Â Francois Beauchemin was the surprise first goal scorer, something that only four (out of more than a hundred) contestants got right. Â We also had one reader sweep his predictions for a full 5 points! It’s not too late to start playing and get in on the chance to win some free Leafs tickets.
Phil Kessel is a legitimate star in the city of Toronto. Â Per sporting tradition, he now needs a nickname which is catchy, instantly recognizable, and also describes him as a player.
In the course of chatting with a source earlier in the week, the topic of Phil Kessel’s impact in Toronto naturally arose. Â At which point the source mentioned, “it’s not every day a team can acquire a bonafide star, but the Leafs have found one in Phlair.”
Wait, what? Phlair?
“Yeah,” the source replied, somewhat sheepishly. “I don’t know where [the players] come up with these nicknames, but that’s what they’re calling him.”
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.
Wanted to take a minute and congratulate our very own Gus Katsaros on his segment on the Fan590 this afternoon.Â Outstanding analysis of both the Phil Kessel/Savard relationship and analysis of the Boston Bruins schedule last year vs this year.Â The little snip at Mr MacLean at the end was priceless as well..Â Congrats Gus, and again, wonderful work..
At long last, Phil Kessel will don the blue and white as he takes to the ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight. Â He has received final clearance (after undergoing a few tests on his repaired shoulder) and will be lining up alongside Jason Blake and Matt Stajan. Â While the focus will undoubtedly be on Kessel’s performance in his first game, the Leafs as a whole must maintain their recent level of play and take a win from the visiting team tonight.
Reports indicate that Phil Kessel will definitely be in the lineup tomorrow night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Â The much-anticipated debut of the young winger has been a hot topic of late with information surfacing in the last few weeks that he would be ready before the previously upheld mid-November estimate. Â With the Leafs playing much better in recent games, it will be interesting to see how Kessel fits in. Â Fans should not expect him to be completely in form yet, as he will need some time to get into game-shape.
Five games in, no wins, and few positives within the play to indicate a turnaround is coming soon.
Something has to be done to shake up this roster.Â Â Some sort of move needs to be made, that much is clear.
The question is, what?
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.
During the 1980s, years before cellphones and the Internet would make hockey news and highlights easily accessible to all, when newspapers and shows such as Sportsline would provide the fans their worth of NHL news, for many the only Maple Leafs action they would see would come via Hockey Night in Canada on CBC, or MolStar Communications during the week.
Living in a rural area with no cable access, a couple hours away from Toronto, the majority of my own fandom as a youth was experienced via the grainy picture of antenna television.Â Â My family didn’t have a lot of money, which meant that attending actual live games was a rare event.Â Â Which, in retrospect, made the event all the more special of an experience.
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.
I won’t go into a lot of detail about the game itself, as Alec covered that quite well.
The news, for the most part, was good.Â Â Many of the Leafs’ prospects were impressive in their bids to earn a spot on the big club and/or the Marlies.Â Â The following is a quick summation of some of the things that stood out to me from my vantage point at the game.
Every season, teams have at least one player who emerges with a seemingly unexpected season.Â Â This is often witnessed in the form of a surge in offense, a dramatic increase in ice time, or a goaltender excelling in key areas such as save percentage and shutouts.
Who will rise to the occasion this season, and surprise us all with a season beyond our expectations?
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.
It’s been the story of the summer in Toronto, the one that just will not go away.Â Â
What will the Maple Leafs do with Tomas Kaberle?Â Â Will they trade him this offseason?Â Will they keep himÂ hoping his play on an improved team willÂ up the demand for him?Â Â Or will they keep him with the intention of building around him?
The word on the streetÂ is Rangers’ wingerÂ Nikolai ZherdevÂ has beenÂ awarded $3.9m in arbitration (unconfirmed).Â Â If true, many suspect the amount to be out of GM Glen Sather’s price range, and he may allow Zherdev to walk as a result.
A hot rumour today has the Maple Leafs’ monitoring the situation closely, and many have said that if the Rangers decline the arbitration result, Leafs’ GM Brian Burke is expected to be at the head of the line of teams attempting to sign the mercurial, but immensely talented, winger.
Trade rumours are flying rampant around Leafs Nation, some centered around specific Leafs’ players, some centered around specific players on other teams, and some centered around the idea of salary dumps.
Rather than speculating the rumour mill this morning, let’s take a little break from that and have some fun with this instead.Â Â Let’s play “GM For A Day”.
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