January 14 2016 08:45AM
#10 - Scott Harrington
Harrington is an intriguing prospect. Developing a defenceman is often hit or miss, and the Leafs had the opportunity to cut the line when they acquired Harrington from Pittsburgh in July. While not exactly a blue-chipper poised to win a Norris race, the 22-year-old former second rounder came with 150 games of professional experience on successful teams and an extensive Major Junior career with Mark Hunter's former London Knights. It's been over half a decade of sink-or-swim on top teams for him, which has forced him to develop a little faster than most mid-tier talents.
This year, Harrington impressed in just about every training camp appearance he made, leading to him making the Leafs roster to start the season. While he wasn't dressed every single night, he did manage to get himself in fifteen games. In that stretch, he spent most of his time playing a draw-back shutdown game with Roman Polak which saw the two start most of their shifts in the offensive zone; not so much to try and score but to help the more adept forwards keep the puck from too far across the ice. Harrington's positive relative possession numbers represent success in this regard.
January 14 2016 06:56AM
Now that internet hockey fans have successfully killed off the role of the enforcer, it seems that the next position in the crosshairs is that of the traditional stay at home defenseman. It’s not even really the internet doing this, Jay McKee was one of the first players bought out after the 2005 lockout showed his style long fit with the accelerated game, Andrew MacDonald is currently sitting in Philadelphia’s farm system because they mistook him thriving in his role in New York as actually being a worthwhile acquisition. The Leafs famously suffered through a long stint with Mike Komisarek, drafted Luke Schenn, and made a handful of other deals that showed that stay at home defenders were their preference to puck movers like Rielly and Gardiner. And that’s how we came to see Roman Polak as a Leaf.
January 13 2016 11:25PM
After a few weeks of disappearance, Kasperi Kapanen is back in blue and white. The Finnish teenager made his way to Helsinki to play in the World Juniors a few weeks ago and stayed back a few days later than expected to take advantage of his deity-like status in his native land. But the fun and games are now over, and it's time for him to, well, play games and do fun things.
With that said, he was far from the star player in tonight's 3-2 result against the Utica Comets. Few of the skaters had nights to phone home about, really; Antoine Bibeau kept the Marlies in this one as long as they needed him to before the game was won in a shootout.
January 13 2016 08:52PM
We should have known that this night was going to be one for good intentions with poor results at this very moment. Just look at Josh Leivo. He works his tail off for months with the Marlies, plays well above expectations, puts on the jersey of the big club for the first time this season, and almost kills himself on the net before the game even starts.
Great omen, Josh. The Leafs lost this one 3-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, in a game where Toronto's systems shined, but their skill level didn't.
January 13 2016 03:00PM
When we first launched OilersNation.com back in 2007 we intended on watching the Oilers return to the Cup Finals for the 2nd time in 3 years and become a perennial powerhouse of hockey. A model of consistency. A team studied by Coaches for a generation to come for “how to build a winning franchise.”
So when it became clear THAT wasn’t happening we started launching other team sites in 2009 starting with FlamesNation.ca. When that didn’t collapse or have a denial of service attack we started putting more and more sites out there creating 5 sites, partnering on 1 and buying 3 sites outright bringing the total to 9.
And today marks the 10th site in the Nation Network launching – WingsNation.com.