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Jarnkrok is back, praise for the Leafs’ PP unit, Pens D is broken: Leafs Practice Notes

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Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
2 months ago
One more day of practice to burn through until game day. Not a whole lot to note as it feels like it is all a continuation of what was going on yesterday, but Calle Jarnkrok is alive and well and has rejoined the lineup:
Simmonds was always likely to be the player bumped out to make room for Jarnkrok, but I stand firm that Pierre Engvall coming out would have given Jarnkrok another good look at center and made for a far more interesting line. Engvall being available for the PK does seem to be of some importance to the Leafs despite having Kerfoot, Marner, Jarnkrok, and Kampf all available as perfectly strong options.
As for what the Leafs are doing with their second power play unit, you can count me as a person who loves it. Maybe I’d love going with the hot hands of Timothy Liljegren a little bit more, but having Malgin out there to control the flow, Robertson as a top tier shooter, and Bunting on garbage duty with Sandin shooting from the point has a ton of appeal. Kerfoot certainly makes sense in that environment as well, but I also wonder if Keefe would occasionally flag a PP1 player to stay out longer to stick with the second unit when possible. Given Tavares’ role on PP1, he seems like a possible candidate.
There is some talk of him starting as soon as Saturday.
As I said, it’s not an entirely newsworthy practice for the Leafs today, so let’s look at an interesting development facing their opponent tomorrow night. Both Rutta and Joseph left the game and did not return on Wednesday night. Jeff Petry was also banged up and did return. It is entirely possible that the Leafs will be facing a watered-down blue line on Friday night, a nice little gift from the hockey gods.
The Leafs could be facing either a very sore lineup or could see some combination of Chad Ruhwedel, Ty Smith, or Mark Friedman draw in.
Tomorrow’s game against the Penguins is at 7:00pm ET and can be seen on TSN 4.

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