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Team sports

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Day Two of on-ice participation is now in the books .. the sessions all had a purpose, as camp not only winds down, but clear decisions need to be made on who will remain with the main roster and who will be going to the Marlies or back to their original junior team.

A breakdown of the drills and more observations from the intra squad game after the jump.

Sunday Training Camp Day 2 practice

Teams A and B practiced with Team A on the main ice. (Breakdown of teams is here.

The drills weren’t very different from the previous days, they all focused on a real-game situation and the coaching staff made variations along the way.

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    Last season, Phil Kessel registered 14 of 24 assists in an 18-game span, with 10 more over 58 games. He battled an ugly 14-game goalless skid (14-0-3-3), three games before going down to a case of mono in January, and 11 games after his return.

    In short, assists aren’t his strong suit. He’s had more goals than assists in every season except his rookie season.

    Well, break your selfish streak, Mr. Kessel and you’ll break your slump. One assist at a time.

    Here’s how

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      … 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.   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.  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.

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        Despite eight new faces in tonight’s season opening lineup against the Montreal Canadiens, many of the recurring themes of futility from last year were evident again in the 4-3 overtime loss. Poor defensive zone coverage, poor penalty killing, questionable moments in the net, and the snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory late in the game. Despite the disappointing loss, there were a few bright spots: namely the play of the top line led by Matt Stajan and Viktor Stalberg.

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          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.   Many of the Leafs’ prospects were impressive in their bids to earn a spot on the big club and/or the Marlies.   The following is a quick summation of some of the things that stood out to me from my vantage point at the game.

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            John Tavares ties the most goals ever by a player in the World Juniors with 12 but managed to do so in 1 less game than Jeff Carter, and 13 less games than Eric Lindros, and the tournament isn’t even completed; although, after that performance, it really felt like the Gold medal game. It’s hard to top that one.

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              Canada came through the gate a bit slow and sluggish. They managed to escape the first period tied at 1, but as the game progressed with chances equaling out by the midway point, Canada began to come alive and pounded the Fins with shots from everywhere being both unpredictable and a deadly force on every shift in the third period.