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Tomas Kaberle

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    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.

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      Wilson had some choice words for the media after last night’s brutal loss that made Phoenix, one of the league’s lowest scoring teams, look like an offensive juggernaut out there. Talking about why he benched his all-star defenseman for the entire 1st period, Ron had this to say about Tomas Kaberle:

      “Yeah, I sent [Kaberle] a message, and he sent me a message back by being minus-4″.

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        Random thoughts, 23 games in:

        Matt Stajan is the leading scorer on the Leafs. Let me repeat that: Matt Stajan is the leading scorer on the Leafs, and is on pace for close to 70 points this season. One of the great unheralded results of a rebuilding project is the chance to see former role players excel in new roles, and Stajan has certainly proved that he is more than simply an effective checker and penalty-killer.

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          Brian Burke’s exact intentions with the Toronto Maple Leafs will be the source of much speculation likely until after the Christmas season, but there may just be one tweak made in shorter order: locating a genuine heavyweight pugilist as a bottom six “hardhat” in his roster.

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            Jeff Carter is quietly making a name for himself around the league; in fact, he’s so quiet that some teams don’t even know it until they play him. His speed and gritty game allows him to stand his guard in front of the net to bang in the garbage goals, and his wrist shot is so powerful that he could zip it past you from the blue line as hard some guys can slap it in this league.

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              A game rife with goals, end-to-end action, controversy and paroxysms of passion… without getting into specifics, this was a belter of a tilt tonight and one that hinted at a renewed rivalry between two age-old foes.

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                Sorry for the delay guys.  We greatly appreciate the flood of great questions and comments, and are sorry to say we couldn’t get to them all. We’ve all been pretty busy lately for a variety of reasons, so without any further ado, let’s get started on the 1st ever Maple Leafs HotStove Hockey Panel Discussion.

                Forming our panel for this session is Alec Brownscombe of Hockeybuzz and MLHS godfather, Gus Katsaros of Mckeen’s and MLHS fantasy expert, and myself, Alex Tran, an MLHS blogger.

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                  Recent discussions have tempers flaring wildly in Minnesota, while the Maple Leafs look to trade leaves before they fall.

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                    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.

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                      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.

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                        Discuss it Here>>>

                        After dealing away high picks for so many years, it finally looks like one of the NHL’s worst farm systems is beginning to turn the corner these last couple of years.

                        For the most part, the Leafs’ prospect talent level is very top heavy with a few bluechippers heading this list, followed by an intriguing combination of high potential boom or bust prospects in the lower ranks. The orgainzation’s biggest strengths are its depth at the centre position and generally high skill level among its forwards. The farm system’s weakness occurs on the blueline where there is little to look forward to beyond Schenn and Stralman, particularly if Vorobiev decides not to come over. The general lack of speed in the organization is also a cause a for concern.

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                          With tonight’s preseason game just a few hours away, there appears to be a shift of mood in the locker room for the duration of the preseason. It looks as if the days are numbered not only for those who won’t be joining the regular crop this year, but also for a few regulars.

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                            A few notes on the Leafs recent demotions, Wednesday’s roster tidbits and a quick review of Monday night’s affair with the Blues.

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                              A momentum swing in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins can be largely attributed to a couple of in-game changes orchestrated by bench-boss Ron Wilson.

                              The starting first line of Mikhail Grabovski, Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky proved ineffectual in the first frame and rookie Nik Kulemin wasn’t clicking with line-mates Nik Hagman and Alex Steen. The team failed to generate anything in the way of offense until late in the third, when Wilson’s ad hoc lines began to fire, mounting a near come-back with two goals in quick succession.

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                                My post-game notes from tonight’s 3-2 loss inside Mellon Arena:

                                -Some promising individual performances, but the chemistry amongst many of the lines was lacking.

                                -All three goals were avoidable. If Anton Stralman and Josef Boumedienne were facing up ice when playing the cross-crease passes there wouldn’t have been an issue. It just seemed to be a freak incident when Stralman lost his footing on the third marker and Kaberle’s jumping of the gun in heading up ice gave the Pens a 2 on 0 situation.