Shhhh……don’t look now but the Toronto Maple Leafs actually look pretty good!
Heading into Carolina to face the Hurricanes the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs are wondering which team will show up? The one that has been on a tear lately (last 10 games-6-4-0) or the one that faced these exact ‘Canes’ 4 games ago and looked like a team going no-where fast and I mean real fast!
As mentioned in the Leafs last 10 games the team has a very impressive 6 wins and 4 losses, with an over all record of 8-5 win/lose record. Their goals for is also at a good clip at 39 with the goals against has been declining steadly, settling at 33 for now. This record for now puts the ‘Blue and White’ in 4th place in the Eastern Conference and looking only to get better until……
Ok, Ok, not to be a ‘negative Nancy’ (hey I know some girls called Nancy, don’t get upset here!) but the news out of Leaf Nation wasn’t so good today. As reported by SportsNet Ontario, it looks like Matt Frattin will be out for at least a week, as he will need to go and have minor surgery on his knee Matt Frattin-Knees injury-needs surgery
With this happening the Leafs will be looking to the ‘Baby Leafs’ the Marlies, for some help once again. With James Riemer going down with a ‘Lower body’ injury James Riemer Injury Update and now Frattin going down the Leafs have called up goaltender Jussi Rynnas who with a record of 8-8-1 so far with the Marlies and a 2.57 average plus a .913 save percentage. Rynnas and Ben Scrivens where partners while with the Marlies last season as they went on a run all the way to the Calder Cup in the AHL. As for any other players coming up, the word out there is, it might be LW Ryan Hamilton, back up for another shot with the big club. Hamilton has been doing pretty well down with the Marlies gathering 20 goals, 10 assists in 42 games. He would be the best choice right now as he has played with Nazen Kadri before.
Now to make matters any worse the rumor mill has been working overtime in Leaf Nation as well. The flavour of today was, we heard was the movement of Phil ‘The Thrill’ Kessel. Rumor Mill- Kessel Going? Again reported out of SportNets Ontario and a local scripe from the Globe and Mail newspaper, they have this trade/movement already completed and guess where? You got it, out to Vancouver for you know who, yup, goaltender Roberto Luongo. It is amazing to me why these stories start up but they do. I can not believe the Leafs GM Dave Nonis would do this deal, it just not make any sense but we will have to see.
Now on the higher note the news out there on Jake Gardiner is getting better but it will be tough for the young defender to get back into the leaf fold as the current Dmen are playing Coach Carlyle’s defensive style of play to a ‘T’. That doesn’t mean Jake ‘The Snake’ Gardiner won’t get his chance but it might mean that he will start back down in the minors with the Marlies and when the chance comes he will be back. Jake Gardiner Ready To Get Going
Finally a quick up date on the injury recovery of Jeffrey Lupul Injury Up Date On Lupul The original recovery period provided by the Leafs would have had Lupul returning in early- to mid-March. On Tuesday, he was vague about whether that was still a possibility — although when asked if he was close to resuming skating Lupul replied “no.”
However, he was adamant that he would return to the Leafs lineup at some point this season and indicated that he has been staying in shape with leg workouts and time on the stationary bike.
“It’s just kind of wait and see and keep working every day and make sure I’m in shape and ready to go whenever I do get cleared,” said Lupul.
Let’s hope it is sooner then later for this guy, after being off for 9 months and then coming back to a very short period, he must be wondering what he has done to deserve this? Time will tell as they say.
So now that the Leafs have gone through just under a third of the ‘Shorten’ season where do we see the Leafs in the next few games or at the half way point? If they can continue to follow the lead of their Coach, Randy Carlyle and his coaching staff they should be sitting in the same spot that they are currently in. But that also depends on injuries to the players now, Riemer, Frattin, how quickly will they recover. Then I feel it will also be determined on how GM Nonis handles the rumor mill of the trades flying around the newspapers and across the tables of the sports news throughout the NHL cities.
What this Coach will tell you though is the Leafs can be for real, as long as they follow the same recipe/game plans they have be given by Coach Carlyle, period. He has these players believing and working some systems that they are buying into and this my friends is all a Coach wishes for!
Until next time.
See you after the game,
By Warren Nye, UltimateHockeySource.com
February 14th, 2013