MAPLE LEAFS at SENATORS
7:30 pm (SPORTSNET)
Say what you will about exhibition games. The final result may be mostly irrelevant but they can serve as an opportunity for rookies to make a statement about where they belong this season, for veterans to shake off some rust and for coaches to critically evaluate what they have and make some, at least preliminary roster decisions.
This summer has had more buzz and excitement towards this upcoming campaign than I can remember from seasons past. There is plenty to look forward to over these 8 scheduled pre-season games beginning with tonight versus the rival Senators. Many are eager to get their first look at some of Toronto’s hopeful up and comers. Most notably, the Leafs first round selection of the 2017 Entry Draft, Timothy Liljegren.
When asked today about his debut at the NHL level, he said:
“I think the biggest difference is the speed and also the smaller surface. It’s hard to read sometimes. You think the forward doesn’t have a shooting lane but he does because it’s a smaller surface so I think that’s the hardest part to adjust in my game here”
Liljegren also added
“one of the biggest things I have to improve this year is to not do too much so that’s what I’m gonna try to do tonight”
Leafs fans who made the trek to our Nation’s capital won’t just be observing our futures tonight though. They’ll also be treated to some real star power with Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Morgan Rielly suiting up for the Blue and White. Other notable debuts include newly acquired free agents Ron Hainsey, Dominic Moore, and Calle Rosen.
Fresh off his 20th birthday, Auston Matthews was asked about his second NHL pre season:
“Each day, you get your legs back under you a little more. You get that touch and feel back so it’s been a fun couple days, seeing everyone back and everybody is pretty excited”
With the Leafs taking the League by surprise last season via a Calder worthy, 40 goal rookie season by Auston Matthews flanked by very impressive rookie seasons by Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Connor Brown and Nikita Zaitsev, it’s easy to see why there is so much optimism surrounding this team.
Can Nazem Kadri repeat last year’s 32 goal season? Where does Patrick Marleau fit in? Can Andersen build off of a good first year between the pipes with the Buds? Who will be our 6th defenseman on the right side? Will James Van Riemsdyk be traded?
These are just a few of the big questions facing the 2017-18 squad and we will begin to find out starting tonight.
Turn the page. It’s the first pre-season contest of 2017-18.. Enjoy.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
HYMAN — MATTHEWS — NYLANDER
KAPANEN — MUELLER — SOSHNIKOV
MARTIN — MOORE — FEHR
LEIVO — AALTON — BROWN
RIELLY — HAINSEY
DERMOTT — LILJEGREN
ROSEN — CARRICK
WHO REALLY GIVES A SHIT …… RIGHT?
MIKE BABCOCK MORNING SKATE 18/09/2017