The shoe is on the other hoof for tonight’s Leafs-Sabres rematch at the ACC as the Leafs are putting just about their best foot forward and the Sabres are sitting much of their core group. The Leafs will dress their complete top six on the back end, with Kaberle-Komisarek, Phaneuf-Gunnarsson, and Beauchemin-Schenn making up the pairings. Jonas Gustavsson will go the distance in net and a near-complete four lines (with one question mark remaining at the third line centre position) will dress up front. The full line-ups and a few notes are after the jump.
The two greatest military tacticians of the past 5000 years â€“ Sun Tzu and Sgt. Slaughter â€“ both spoke on the value of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your enemies in the field.Â To effectively assess the situational realities of the Toronto Maple Leafs it pays to look at the status of their direct competition within the Northeast division.Â Playing 24 games against teams from their own division, pride, points and position are all on the line.Â While by no means comprehensive (as yet), take a gander at the past 3 weeks of moves.
The Canadians, Senators, Bruins and Sabres all earned playoff positions last season.Â A successful, playoff calibre Leafs squad must commit themselves to dominating these frequent opponents as more than a quarter of the season will be played against them.
Weâ€™ve partnered up with Pension Plan Puppets to bring to you a Player Review series, where we will be evaluating and grading the 2009-10 season for every Leaf who featured in a significant number of games for the Blue and White last season, with an eye towards 2010-11. Next up we feature Luke Schenn, profiled by Skinny Fish:
Luke signed a Maple Leafs Annual and I'm boasting about it.
“The Summary: People will point to the Calder worthy performance ofÂ Tyler Myers, or the Norris worthy performance ofÂ Drew Doughty and then say that Schenn had a terrible season; a sophomore slump if you will. Those people are dead wrong. Doughty is among the elite of the elite defensemen in the game, and Tyler Myers benefited from being on aÂ Sabres team with terrible defense while playing in front of the game’s best goal inÂ Ryan Miller. Schenn, on the other hand, played on a team with proven veteran defensemen like Beauchemin, Phaneuf, and Kaberle. Another thing to note is that Schenn was never touted as a point producing blue liner; his game is out of a shut down style of play against tough competition. Myers led his team with nearly 3 minutes of PP time a game; Schenn averaged 14 seconds.
Dion Phaneuf was far and away the biggest name exchanging teams in the Toronto-Calgary deal on Sunday morning, and as a result, young defenseman Keith Aulie may have gotten a little overlooked in the shuffle. But make no mistake about it: Aulie was a significant piece in this trade for Brian Burke and the huge, imposing blueliner should figure prominently in the Maple Leafs’ defensive core of the future. Let’s take a look at what the newest Maple Leafs’ prospect could bring to the table in a few years time.
Drop the penalty kill from the equation and the Leafs win this one 2-0; there’s something, right?
Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri has successfully passed the first hurdle en route to a possible World Juniors roster spot, by earning an invite to the final selection camp earlier today. The roster currently encompasses 36 invitees in total, a number which Team Canada Head Coach Willie Desjardins will have to narrow down to 22 by the end of camp.
On the eve of the biggest game in their major junior careers, team Canada prepares for a rematch with Team Sweden in the Gold Medal game. The event will faceoff John Tavares and Victor Hedman for “round 2″ in a two round event – Tavares took round 1. They have 2 things at stake: both are competing for top prospect and both are competing for the gold.
2 Words: Total Domination.
The final roster for Hockey Canada’s 2009 World Junior Hockey team was announced early this morning and here were the final 16 cuts:
Memorial Cup winning netminder Tyson Sexsmith and Jake Allen; defencemen Travis Hamoic – who won gold with the under-18 squad – Kevin Marshall, Patrick Wiercioch, Jarred Spurgeon, Brendan Smith and Tyler Cuma, who suffered a knee injury during camp; forwards Evander Kane, Riley Nash, Jamie Arniel, Nazem Kadri, Matt Duchene, Brayden Schenn, Taylor Hall and Matt Calvert.