October 13 2012 09:35AM
Tonight was the night the Toronto Maple Leafs were going to hit to the ice with James van Riemsdyk in a game that really counted. Millions were going to watch. The first game of the year is always special and today felt no different—many Southern Ontarians woke up this morning finding they could see their breath for the first time this year.
There is a lockout, if you haven't heard, and we need to find something else to do with our night. Luckily, Saturday is always a big day on the sports calendar, the Leafs' AAAA team opens up, there's some good OHL action and arguably the best athlete in the world competes...
The Toronto Marlies open at 5:00 pm, that game on Sportsnet One as well as live to fans at Ricoh Coliseum. We don't have an in-depth preview on the Marlies, frankly, because there's such a good one over at Pension Plan Puppets, but we will monitor the Futureleafs as much as we can and provide our own insights. Gus is good at tracking action, and we'll try to get out to as many games as we can, and Jeffler will be our man on the inside...
If the AHL isn't your bag, there are four games on the OHL Action Pak tonight if you subscribe to the Rogers sports bundle. Two Leafs prospects in action: Josh Leivo and the Sudbury Wolves travel to Barrie and, probably the best game of the bunch, Tyler Biggs and the Oshawa Generals travel to Belleville to take on the loaded Bulls with the likes of Malcolm and Jordan Subban as well as Vancouver first-rounder Brendan Gaunce.
Then you have the Peterborough vs. Owen Sound and Niagara vs. Sarnia. No Leafs prospects in those games, but you can boo and hiss at people from different Ontario towns than you.
Not on the Action Pak, but in action tonight, is a battle of Leaf prospects. Stuart Percy and the Mississauga Steelheads pay a visit to Connor Brown and the Erie Otters, who also feature 15-year old wunderkind Connor McDavid. Erie's apparently pretty fun to watch this year, so that could be worth finding a stream for if you have little else to do. David Broll and the Soo Greyhounds are in Plymouth tonight to take on an NHL player-loaded roster. My mouse may get a workout tonight with some good box scores to monitor.
The main event tonight, across all sports, is UFC 153. Middleweight champion Anderson Silva moves up to light heavyweight to face Stephan Bonnar. I thought this was an odd matchup on the UFC's part since Bonnar, while being a fairly exciting fighter on a three-fight win streak, hasn't won a fight against a notable opponent since beating Keith Jardine by unanimous decision back in 2006. He's fought, and has lost to, some fairly decent competition in that span.
Silva is the main attraction. If you're new to MMA, one of the best things is how Silva will toy with an opponent for a round or so before exposing their weakness quickly and efficiently. In his last light heavyweight tilt against Forrest Griffin at UFC 101, Silva taunted Griffin by moving his face right into striking distance, then pulling away with a slight jab to the jaw, felling Griffin.
If fighting isn't your thing, the American League Championship Series between Detroit and New York starts up at 8 on Sportsnet. The Tigers are sending a red-hot Doug Fister "I barely know her" to the mound against Andy Pettite. The first round of the playoffs saw each series go to five games and it was all awesome. If baseball isn't your thing, there's a good slate of college football match ups on tonight. USC and Washington is live on FOX at 7 and South Carolina (the Gamecocks!) are on TSN against LSU at 8.
Movie pick of the night
On Thursday over at Canucks Army, Thomas suggested going to see Looper. If you'd like to stay in tonight, and not rent a movie, and you don't have any of the prime movie channels, and you don't feel like downloading anything, your best bet is the Martin Scorcese Classic Gangs of New York. At the very least, by the time it's over, the lockout will certainly have ended.
Enjoy the night.