Finally the day many of us have been waiting for has arrived. Â The NHL Toronto Maple Leafs rookie tournament kicks off this afternoon in London, Ontario, and for many it’s a chance to catch on ice hockey for the first time in quite a while.
Today’s action features the Pittsburgh Penguins rookies taking on the Ottawa Senators rookies in afternoon action. Â Also on the bill today, the Maple Leafs rookies will play the Chicago Blackhawks rookies in the nightcap.
Here is all you need to know about today’s games.
Game 1: Pittsburgh Vs Ottawa
Puck drop: 2PM
Coverage: Live blog here on the site, as well as pictures and notes on Twitter
Who To Watch (Pittsburgh):
Simon Despres, a defenseman drafted by the Penguins in the first round of 2009.
Reid McNeil, a defenseman drafted by the Penguins in the 6th round in 2010 who plays for the hometown London Knights.
Eric Tangradi, A top scoring junior forward who was obtained in a trade with Anaheim.
Who To Watch (Ottawa):
Jared Cowen, aÂ towering defenseman selected by Ottawa in the first round of the 2009 draft.
Robin Lehner, a goaltender drafted by Ottawa in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft.
Mike Hoffman, a goal scoring forward drafted by Ottawa in the 5th round of the 2009 draft.
Notes: It will be interesting to see how well this game is attended, but above all else, the first game of the tournament should be exciting, as it signals the official kickoff to the tournament. Â The Knights will play in the John Labatt Centre tonight, so it will be interesting to see the shape of the ice.
Game 2: Chicago Vs Toronto
Puck Drop: 7PM
Coverage: Live blog here on the site, as well as pictures and notes updates on Twitter
Who To Watch (Chicago):
Kyle Beach, a rugged forward drafted in the first round of the 2008 NHL draft.
Nick Leddy, a defenseman drafted in the first round of the 2009 NHL draft.
Chris DiDomenico, a former Maple Leafs prospect who is attempting to get hockey career back on track in Chicago.
Who To Watch (Toronto):
Nazem Kadri, Toronto’s latest first round pick, taken last year at the NHL draft
Jerry D’Amigo, a scoring forward who has risen up the prospect depth charts in Toronto
Sondre Olden, a power forward who puts up points, was taken by the Leafs in the 2010 NHL entry draft
Notes: It will be very interesting to see how well this game is attended, and how the likely pro Maple Leafs crowd will help (or possibly hinder) the young players. Â A lot of eyes will also be on Bradley Ross and Greg McKegg, recent Toronto draft picks which whom many fans and management alike have high hopes for.
The goaltending situation will be interesting to watch for the Maple Leafs throughout the tournament, as fans will get their first looks at newcomers Ben Scrivens, and Jussi Rynnas.
Also a reminder for those attending tomorrow night’s Leafs/Hawks game, the John Labatt Centre announced last night that the Toronto Maple Leafs rookies will be available for about 30 minutes following the game to sign autographs, so if you are in attendance tomorrow, bring some gear and come meet some of the future Toronto Maple Leafs!