Leafs Postgame: Sparky Night In Canada

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
November 30 2015 11:34PM

When this game was identified on the schedule a couple of months ago, Leafs fans knew it was going to be a special night. It was circled as one of the must-see's of the year. It was going to be the night of a young rookie, developed by Toronto, playing his guts out in front of 18000 fans at the Air Canada Centre.

Saying all this, I'm actually referring to Newmarket-born Leafs fan Connor McDavid, who was drafted by the Oilers and currently plays for the Injured Reserve. It was a player on the other team that was the expected attraction, but in hindsight, I'm sure the crowd preferred what they got from tonight's 3-0 Leafs victory instead.

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Garret Sparks becomes first Leafs goaltender to earn shutout in NHL debut

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
November 30 2015 09:03PM

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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports

At this point last year, Garret Sparks was in the ECHL, putting up extremely solid numbers for the Orlando Solar Bears while the Toronto Marlies slowly inched their way out of the AHL's gutter. It wasn't the pathway he had planned to take at the start of the season and the then 21-year-old was starting to second guess his place in pro hockey.

In the twelve months that ensued, he rebuilt his technique, changed his attitude, spent extra time in the gym, and set his ambitions on earning his way back up the ranks. Which brought him tonight; another unplanned appearance on another team within the organization, but this time, he was looking upward.

Sparks took total advantage of the opportunity, becoming the first Leafs goalie to post a shutout in his NHL debut.

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The IceCaps are finally the rival the Marlies were promised, and possibly their kryptonite

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
November 30 2015 08:55AM

Photo Credit: Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com

This story begins on April 29th, 2005. A few weeks after Kyle Wellwood ended the St. John's Maple Leafs' regular season with a shootout winner immortalized on potato-era YouTube, the team was eliminated by the Manitoba Moose in the first round of the players. It was a quiet ending; a 4-0 shutout to cap off a 4-1 series, and for most teams, they'd move on with some dejection, start training, and come back in October to give it another go.

The St. John's Maple Leafs never came back.

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Joffrey Lupul to miss Monday's game with nagging ailment

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
November 29 2015 01:31PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs have an interesting game ahead of them on Monday. The Edmonton Oilers keep finding new ways to be the laughing stock of the National Hockey League, and rookie goaltender Garret Sparks will make his NHL debut. Joffrey Lupul, however, will sit this one out to rest an unspecified ailment.

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Garret Sparks to start for the Leafs on Monday

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
November 29 2015 11:45AM

Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports

The last time that the Leafs started a Calder trophy eligible goaltender in goal, Jussi Rynnas let in seven goals in a blowout loss to Philadelphia at the end of the 2011/12 season. He never played a game for Toronto again after that. Garret Sparks will probably be looking for a different fate on Monday night, as he steps between the pipes to play his first career NHL game.

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