September 16 2013 12:29PM
-The world is pumped to see Trevor Smith's Maple Leafs debut
After a 4-3 win last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs take to the ice again against the Philadelphia Flyers. They will have a similar roster to last night's contest in London while the Leafs will swap out 17 players, giving fans our first look of the season at Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak. We'll also see Trevor Smith and T.J. Brennan make their anticipated Leafs debuts, and to a lesser extent, David Clarkson and Jonathan Bernier.
I think our impressions of the Flyers last night were less than positive. A couple of their goals made their way through screens, and Philly's defence looked awful to start the game. The Leafs' first four shots were all excellent scoring chances, and it isn't a ringing endorsement of Steve Mason to point out that all of them went in, although the first 10 minutes of a preseason contest isn't the place to judge a goaltender.
September 16 2013 11:26AM
I thought that the best game the Toronto Maple Leafs played last season was the fourth game of the playoffs against Boston. It ended poorly, unfortunately, on an overtime goal by David Krejci, the Leafs played some inspired hockey after Mark Fraser took a puck in the face and after the fourth line got benched thanks to a terrible penalty taken by Colton Orr that resulted in a goal against.
The Leafs rolled three lines and five defencemen and looked pretty good. As I noted in my post titled "the accidental juggernaut, the Leafs out-chanced Boston 9-4 after Fraser and Orr found themselves out of the game, before that, they had been out-chanced 11-14 by the same Bruins.
September 15 2013 09:08AM
Unfortunately for the Toronto Maple Leafs, one half of this memorable James van Riemsdyk goal battery will be staying home for tonight's preseason contest. The Leafs kick off their preseason tonight at 6:00 p.m. from Budweiser Gardens in London against the Philadelphia Flyers. Unlike the Washington-Winnipeg game on CBC from Belleville last night, there aren't a whole lot of stars on either side. Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Phil Kessel will be staying home, as is van Riemsdyk. For shame.
In net for the Leafs will be James Reimer and Christopher Gibson, as Reimer begins his quest to retain the Leafs' starting goaltender position, behind a defence that has just two likely NHLers in John-Michael Liles and Paul Ranger. The Maple Leafs posted a full lineup on its website including line combinations:
September 12 2013 02:58PM
Hey, did you know that since the 2007-2008 season, Nazem Kadri's 2012-2013 season was the 9th highest points scored per 60 minutes among players with at least 40 games played? No fooling. The players ahead of him on that list are Sidney Crosby (thrice), Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Eric Staal, and Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
That's intense, and puts Kadri in some pretty good company among former MVP winners and scoring title winners. It is, of course, important to put into context that while Kadri's huge 2013 season was influenced in part by talent, luck had a role to play in it as well.
According to that behindthenet.ca, with Kadri on the ice, the Leafs took 22.3 shots per 60 minutes of play, and scored goals on 3.8 of those shots. That's a shooting percentage of 14.4%, the highest on the list of these players in the Top 20 (though Daniel Sedin's 2010 campaign is close).
September 11 2013 10:28PM
One of the most read posts in this website's history is titled "So, what happened to Paul Ranger?". That post went up last summer when a defenceman that had previously left the NHL at age 25 returned to hockey by signing with the Toronto Marlies. Turns out, so little had been written about Ranger that it jumped up to the top of Google search rankings, and it still gets hundreds of clicks per day. There's a lot of interest in Paul Ranger, and for good reason.
Ranger's NHL departure left a lot of questions, and they all seemed to go unanswered, and continue to do so. His departure and subsequent return is a bit of a mystery. Even with two of Canada's top storytellers attending Leafs' media day that coincided with the first day of training camp, Rangers refuses to go into specifics for why he left such a promising career with the Tampa Bay Lightning.