Talk about going back in time…
Finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs have come back to play some hockey. After a ridiculous week off, they’ve jumped into their time machine to play the 2008-2009 Maple Leafs. Sorry, my mistake, they’re playing the Calgary Flames.
Lineups and thoughts after the jump.
Maple Leafs Lineup
Clarke MacArthur – Mikhail Grabovski – Nikolai Kulemin
Joffrey Lupul – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
Matt Frattin – Matthew Lombardi – Colby Armstrong
Mike Brown – David Steckel – Philippe Dupuis
Carl Gunnarsson – Dion Phaneuf
Cody Franson – Luke Schenn
John-Michael Liles – Mike Komisarek
Clarke MacArthur is back in the lineup after serving his suspension for trying to separate Justin Abdelkader from his head. In the meantime, he apparently almost lost his elbow to a Mikael Renberg-like equipment-borne illness. That really speaks to just how disgusting hockey equipment gets.
Matthew Lombardi is slowly moving his way up the depth chart. Tonight he’ll be centering Colby Armstrong and rookie Matt Frattin. This line could play either the role of a sheltered third scoring line or as a tough checking line that can come out even against the opposition’s scoring line.
Cody Franson will finally make his regular season debut as rookie Jake Gardiner heads to the pressbox. I hope that Gardiner being a healthy scratch will simply be a way station on the way to playing some heavy minutes in the AHL. He shined with the puck in the AHL but he still needs some polish on the defensive side of the puck. Menawhile, Franson managed to make himself the centre of a firestorm as he and Ron Wilson traded petty complaints. Hopefully, Franson puts his head down and makes Wilson looked bad for benching him and then doesn’t say a damn thing about it.
The new pairings on the back end likely mean that Komisarek is going to be seeing a lot more ice time. He has actually been serviceable this season so hopefully that carries over with the increase in minutes.
Alex Tanguay – David Moss – Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross – Olli Jokinen – Lee Stempniak
Niklas Hagman – Matt Stajan – Rene Bourque
Tim Jackman – Roman Horak – Tom Kostopolous
Jay Bouwmeester – Chris Butler
Mark Giordano – Scott Hannan
Cory Sarich – Anton Babchuk
TSN’s Scott MacArthur noted that the Calgary Flames only have one player that they’ve drafted in the lineup in David Moss. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs have two players that the Flames have drafted in Dion Phaneuf and Matthew Lombardi. That might be one reason why the Flames are in trouble. The Leafs have five players that they have drafted and Tyler Bozak who they signed as an undrafted free agent.
Up front, Hagman, Stajan, and Stempniak should be your choices to score tonight and if anyone is going to end up in front of Brendan Shanahan it’ll be the gutless puke that helped end Mike Van Ryn’s career, Tom Kostopolous. The Leafs will have to keep their head on a swivel when he is on the ice.
The FLames are coming off of an impressive 4-1 over Willy Wonka’s Habs. The Leafs spent half of the week team building with the Canadian Armed Forces in Trenton and the other half talking about Cody Franson