With just ten games left on the schedule for the Leafs this season, here are ten thoughts I’ve been considering heading into those final games.
- We are entering the clichéd time when every game is the most important game (until the Leafs clinch a playoff spot), but really are there any more important games on the schedule than the two against the Rangers this week? Two wins would do wonders for creating space between the Leafs and eighth place and likely move them away from facing Pittsburgh or Boston in the first round.
- As pleased as I am that Carlyle seems to agree with me about sitting one of the enforcers to get Joe Colborne some playing time, I can’t help but think that more than 5 minutes a night for Colborne would be helpful. Given how close the game was on Saturday night, I’m not going to worry about it, but it would be great if Colborne gets a chance to find his legs in the NHL before the post season.
- Speaking of post season legs it would be nice to see Reimer and Scrivens split the workload a bit more the rest of the way. A bit of rest for Reimer could be helpful as he will likely be the top dog at the start of the playoffs, but given the inexperience it would nice to have Scrivens fresh and ready to go as well.
- Lupul skated in an optional practice Sunday which is encouraging. What is discouraging is seeing how physical the Rangers played Pittsburgh on Friday night. It might make sense to give him some time fully heal rather than bring him back at 80%.
- The Rangers don’t exactly have the fastest forwards in the league; I wonder if that’s reason enough to bring O’Byrne into the lineup or do you stick with what worked in New Jersey?
- Food for thought, do you let McClement center Kulemin and Komarov and give Grabovski a chance to play with Kadri? If Kadri doesn’t get a shot with Kessel it might be nice to give him someone else who’s as offensively gifted as he is.
- Since Carlyle is essentially rolling three lines all game, why not dress seven defensemen? Using Gardiner or Fraser in preferred situations might give the blueline a bit more balance, and Colborne and Orr (or McLaren) could simply be rotated in on a need basis.
- Does van Riemsdyk need to see some more time with Kadri? The two of them worked well together earlier in the season and it’s painfully clear that Bozak doesn’t realize that JvR exists.
- It’s disappointing that Frattin has been so quiet lately and has had a hard time getting into the lineup. I wonder how successful he’d be if he had a chance to work with Colborne. I keep on trying to find ways for the Leafs to recreate the success the Oilers had with their youth in 2006.
- I’m completely done with Kostka, and I don’t think Ryan Hamilton offers much help at the NHL level either. Keeping in mind the number of Marlies call-ups allowed for the remainder of the year, I wouldn’t mind seeing one more experimental recall before the end of the season.
MONDAY MORNING LINKS…
NHL Announces 2014 Winter Classic (Icethetics)
My Kadri jersey is already ordered.
Pass or Fail: The Winter Classic Jerseys (Puck Daddy)
If it’s got a Maple Leaf on the front it gets a pass every time.
Sportsnet secures the rights to 24/7 (Sportsnet)
As long as it’s not edited for content or commercial time I can live with this.
Five People on the Hot Seat (The Hockey News)
Some interesting names here or a list that could have been much longer.
Central Scouting Lists Revealed (NHL.com)
I always appreciate pre-Memorial Cup, Under 18 tournament, and combine rankings. These will be the last time you see players organized by on ice ability.
The Maple Leafs that Divide the Fan Base (Vintage Leaf Memories)
I think you can add almost any Leaf to the list. Not too much we all agree on.
Henderson to be named to the Order of Hockey in Canada (TSN)
Is this enough or is the Hall of Fame still warranted? I still think he belongs in the Hall