So the new look Maple Leafs—or at least some of them—hit the ice last night in the Coke Zero fans first game, and the results were mostly a positive nature.
Let's start from the net on out. It was great to see Curtis Joseph get the start so all the Leafs fans in attendance could give him a great welcome, a classy move by Ron Wilson. Not only was it good for nostalgia's sake, but in one period of work, Cujo was pretty solid.
He was guessing on the first chance of the game, and was out of position on the goal, but he settled down and played well, making a few big saves in his twenty minutes of work.
Justin Pogge also played last night, playing periods two and three. Pogge played pretty well, but we'll get to that later.
Fans got their first glimpse of Luke Schenn last night, and he looked a little nervous. As the game wore on, he was solid yet unspectacular. He logged 20 minutes of action and was plus-two.
Sunday night, Schenn was treated to dinner by Jeff Finger, who basically showed him the ropes and gave him some tips. Nice to see there is already a nice veteran corps on this team, which lacked leadership for the most part last season.
Finger and Van Ryn were solid, while White had a great pass on the Earl goal, and Colaiacovo was solid all night long, scoring a goal and pasting a few guys with jarring hits.
Most of the forwards played well last night. I would have liked to see more out of Kulemin, who was minus-one and failed to record a shot. Other than that, all the players had a lot of jam.
Overall I thought the group that played last night was real solid, particularly in the first and second periods. Fatigue weared them down in the third, but they still wrapped up the win.
I loved how the forwards played Monday. They were hitting everything in sight, and they used their speed to create turnovers. If this team can show this type of speed and hard forechecking every night, they are going to be tough to play against.
Pogge Gets Another Start
Justin Pogge played the second and third period of Monday's game against Buffalo, and while I think he was a victim of his team in front of him tiring out as the game wound down, he was solid in net.
In fact, he was so solid that Ron Wilson has decided to give the young netminder the full sixty minutes tomorrow night when the Leafs battle the Penguins.
Vesa Toskala will not make the trip to Pittsburgh, so either Curtis Joseph or James Reimer will back up Pogge.
Joining Pogge tomorrow night will be Luke Schenn, who will play in his second-consecutive game. The line of Antropov, Grabovski, and Ponikarovsky will also make their first appearance tomorrow night in Steeltown.
It is expected the first round of cuts will be made sometime this week, likely before Friday's game.
Videos from practice, Hollweg's Chris Farley Impression
Here is a link to some videos from last night featuring interviews with Dominic Moore, Luke Schenn, Jeff Finger, Jamal Mayers, and a hilarious impression of Chris Farley done by Ryan Hollweg.