MAPLE LEAFS (8-11-5) at JETS (11-12-2)
So just when you thought all was peaceful and quiet in Leafs Land……
Today it was announced that former starting Goaltender Jonathan Bernier was being sent to the Toronto Marlies for a conditioning assignment (can be over a 10 day period according to Jonas Siegel). WOW, I will say that I was in shock when I heard this. If you wanted change in the Leafs organization this shot across the bow should be a solid indicator, again, that things are moving forward. Either get in line, or get out of the way.
Bernier was quoted as saying “I was not going to play soon here so I think it’s good to go back down and try to find my game there.” This is great news, but you KNOW he isn’t happy about it and that is understandable. True competitors would be pissed. I truly hope, that Bernier can find his game with the Marlies and return to the NHL stronger and better than before. Paging Piero Greco.
Back to the game at hand this evening in Winnipeg.
By all accounts (at the time of writing) it would appear that Garret Sparks will get his second consecutive start between the pipes for the beloved Maple Leafs this evening. This announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise to many fans as the unwritten rule is, you play the next game after you post a shutout. More of a surprise is the fact that Reimer is healthy and ready to go. I am a bit concerned that James is rushing back from injury to try and regain the #1 position in the twine teepee for the Leafs. The native of Manitoba would be the easy selection to start this evening if it weren’t for two things. First, Sparks had the shutout in his first NHL game and second, Reimers numbers are TERRIBLE vs. the Jets (on the road).
The forwards and the defence seem to be status quo from last game, barring any last minute changes.
Leo Komarov continues to excel playing on the top line here in Toronto. Already 10 goals on the season, he will look to take the body and position his posterior in front of the Winnipeg net with every chance he gets.
Byron Froese is now a staple on the Toronto Maple Leafs team when it comes to taking draws. Froese has moved ahead of Nazem Kadri (and just behind Tyler Bozak) in faceoff winning percentage and when needed will be called upon for work in the defensive zone. I realize that the advanced statistics people say that faceoffs aren’t important but try telling that to Coach Babcock.
Dion Phaneuf is having an above average season to this point. I look for him to build off of that excellent performance versus Edmonton, in which he hit everything in sight. That is the Captain that I want to see, and I would love to see a complimentary player similar to him on another pairing. Keep your heads up. Having said all of that, this Winnipeg team is built considerably bigger and meaner than the Oilers. This will be a much tougher test, and we are about to see what all players are made out of this evening.
Should be an interesting night out in Winterpeg, the storylines are starting to heat up in Leafs Land and I cannot WAIT to see Johnny Berns start a game at the Ricoh.
Go Leafs Go !! (or tank or whatever you hope for….)
Toronto Maple Leafs
Gdiff (5v5) — -5
Gdiff (All) — -8
CF% (5v5) – 49.2
PP% – 20.3
PK% – 80.5
Gdiff (5v5) — -1
Gdiff (All) — -12
CF% (5v5) – 52.1
PP% – 15.6
PK% – 78.3
Toronto Maple Leafs
JVR – Kadri – Komarov
Mathias – Bozak – Parenteau
Winnik – Spaling – Grabner
Holland – Froese – Boyes
Gardiner – Phaneuf
Hunwick – Rielly
Marincin – Polak
Ladd – Little – Wheeler
Perreault – Scheifele – Stafford
Thorburn – Burmistrov – Ehlers
Lowry – Copp – Peluso
Chiarot – Byfuglien
Enstrom – Myers
Stuart – Trouba
Today in Leafs History….
Today in Leafs history will be back as soon as @DoctorRobert is finished with his final exams and projects