November 21 2013 10:58AM
I guess the big news of the day is that the Maple Leafs sent down Carter Ashton, opening up a roster spot for the eventual return of Tyler Bozak. It's a paper transaction that doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot, but one more excuse for me to quibble with the way the bottom six have been put together and deployed so far this season. Carter Ashton, in my view, has been the best non-scoring winger the Leafs have had. His speed and forechecking ability has really cut down on other teams' ability to exit the zone cleanly, and the turnover and giveaway problems that the Leafs have had all season in their own end seem magically apparent on the other side with Ashton on the ice.
That said… he's the one who is waiver-ineligible, and you can't expose a guy like Frazer McLaren to waivers, since guys like Frazer McLaren are never on waivers, and teams are just chomping at the bit to get those types of players.
The other big piece of news is that Jonathan Bernier, who shut out Nashville earlier this season, will be the starting goalie, and if you have a problem with the way the goalies are being used this season, even if the starts are favouring one guy in the tandem, you're really missing the forest for the trees. Toronto's 2nd in the league in save percentage both overall and at 5-on-5, behind only Boston. There's no reason to complain there. Nashville is in town tonight.
November 20 2013 12:49PM
Trevor Smith is a hero, Clarkson's got his 1st, Kessel scores a pair, and Kulemin is a truck.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
November 20 2013 11:46AM
As confirmed yesterday and originally reported by me on Monday (TLN with those #exclusives, yo) the Toronto Marlies swapped around their two rookie goaltenders, sending Garret Sparks to the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL and calling up Christopher Gibson. I've had a few people ask me about this, so let's go into detail into the significance that this seemingly minor move may have.
November 19 2013 08:42PM
After a few dormant games, the Toronto Maple Leafs offence finally came alive—games against the New York Islanders are usually good for that. Phil Kessel, sitting out yesterday's practice with the flu, and noticed wearing tape on his lower hand, scored two goals for Toronto, because Phil Kessel is a wonderful human that plays wonderful hockey, and has now scored at least one goal with four different centremen so far this season.
It wasn't the cleanest game the Leafs have played this season, with both teams making some sloppy plays in the neutral and offensive zones, but ultimately Toronto made good on the relatively few scoring chances they had, taking the lead 22 seconds into the game and never relinquishing it, despite a nervous moment in the third, the Maple Leafs convincingly won 5-2.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
November 19 2013 07:34PM
Unique teams! Non-divisional and non-occasional! I love them! Wait, we're seeing these new guys again just three days later, and they're gone from the building afterwards until who knows what season? How about that.. whatever the case, the Toronto Marlies are back home for their third game in four nights, re-facing the Charlotte Checkers. On Saturday, the Marlies beat the Hurricanes affiliate 4-1, lead by Greg McKegg's two goal, two assist performance. Tonight, the Marlies doubled up, defeating the Checkers for the second time in the homestead.