Cornwall - Oct. 12, 2011 - Without question, those of us who are members of Leafs’ Nation are pleased with the 2-0 start of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The boys in Blue and White have posted early season victories over divisional rivals the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators, however it is too early to start planning the parade down Yonge Street.
Dump and Chase
Leafs need a rebound year from Phaneuf
On January 31, 2010 the Leafs acquired bruising defenceman Dion Phaneuf along with Keith Aulie, and Fredrik Sjostrom from the Calgary Fames for Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White. Phaneuf has since been named captain of the Buds and is in many ways the face of the franchise.
For the Leafs to have any shot at making the playoffs in 2011-12, they will need a rebound year from the All-Star defenceman. Phaneuf was drafted in the first round (9th overall) of the 2003 Entry draft by the Flames from the Red Deer Rebels. In his first four NHL seasons, Phaneuf averaged over 51 points and 19 goals per season. In his last two seasons, his numbers have dipped to an average of 31 points and 10 goals. He is off to a solid start in this new season with a goal and two assists in his first two games.
He has also thrown some big body checks
- the type that he has made a reputation of throwing. Only good things can happen for the Leafs if Phaneuf returns to his Calgary numbers. Two games does not amount to a season but it is nice to see him off to a good start.
Down on the Farm
Marlies off to a 1-0 Start
The 76th season of the American Hockey League has begun and the Toronto Marlies sit at 1-0 after a 3-2 victory over the Binghamton Senators. Darryl Boyce, Joe Colborne and Joey Crabb scored for Toronto in their season opener. The Marlies are in action again on Friday night when the travel to Grand Rapids to take on the Griphins.
Overall Leafs are pretty healthy
The Leafs only have two players on the injured list. Centre Tim Connolly was placed on injured reserve on October 5th with what is described as an upper body injury and C Nazem Kadri was placed on the IR on September 29th with a torn ligament in his knee. LW Clarke MacArthur has served his two game suspension and will be ready for action Saturday against Calgary.
Next three games
There appears to be a scheduling quirk for the Leafs, as they played Montreal and Ottawa to open the season and then got a full seven days off before they host the Calgary Flames on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre. Following that the Buds host the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night and then on Wednesday the reborn Winnipeg Jets are in TO.
Bag of Pucks
A quick look around the league
Pittsburgh Penguins centre Evgeni Malkin missed Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers with a lower body injury.
Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby is expected to see his doctor soon with the hopes that he will be cleared for contact.
Long Sault native Jesse Winchester is on the IR with a shoulder injury.
Montreal Canadiens seem to be the early leaders in the injury department. Michael Cammalleri, Chris Campoli, Lars Eller, Andrei Markov, Jaroslav Spacek and Ryan White are all out.
Odd to see a group of NHL tough guys upset with Don Cherry
Nashville Predators recently picked up tough guy Brian McGratton off waivers.
What’s the deal with the numbers on the front part of the helmets? Not a fan.