Just one more of these before it’s time for the real deal.
With a back to back wrapping up the preseason schedule leading into a back to back to start the season on Tuesday/Wednesday, the Leafs may opt for a rookie heavy lineup tonight in what Randy Carlyle has described as an opportunity to assess some call-up options.
Carlyle was also noticeably peeved at last night’s effort by his Leafs, who had pretty much their full lineup on display less Kessel. The Leafs puck chased all night, which might be a theme we can expect against the Red Wings this season, and Carlyle seemed to be pretty upset with the effort level and lack of physical play on the part of the Leafs.
Carlyle also took an opportunity to call out defenceman Jake Gardiner, in what may be a continuing theme again this season. Something Carlyle sees in Gardiner’s play, whether it be taking too many chances or playing lackadaisically in his own end or both, still seems to be getting under his skin.
Another takeaway from Carlyle’s last couple of interviews has been the possibility of running with 11 forwards and 7 defencemen to start the season, presumably as a way to accommodate a nine-game audition from Rielly despite the Clarkson suspension and the cap crunch.
We know James Reimer will start, and the Leafs will have to ice a few more regulars to hit their NHL quota. Clarkson will likely take his final opportunity to play before serving his 10 game suspension, while Bolland, Orr and Franson could probably use another tune up. Kadri is also expected to play.