The Toronto Maple Leafs are in Steeltown tonight, just 24 hours removed from a hard-fought, emotional 1-0 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.
No word on line combinations as of yet, but Curtis Joseph will make his first start in goal for the Maple Leafs, while defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo will get back into the lineup tonight.
Game time is 7 PM on CBC as part of Hockey Night in Canada.
Thoughts on Last Night
A real solid game last night, I thought. Sure there, were times when they got a little scrambly in their own zone, and they also got into some penalty trouble—some of which were marginal calls, but what do you do?
I'm just going to put this out there right now—Luke Schenn and Nikolai Kulemin are rock stars. There's just no other way to put it.
Kulemin has found the net four times—twice in the shootout, twice during regulation—and three of the goals have looked very similar. A break away, a quick backhand, and a forehand flip of the puck into the roof of the net. So long grainy YouTube videos, we finally get the chance to see the skilled Russian in the flesh—and well worth the wait, I would say.
The fact that he is on the ice late in the game and picked to participate in the shootout is a great compliment to the young man.
Luke Schenn has been fantastic as well, and last night was no exception. Nearly 26 minutes last night for the 18 year old, second only to Tomas Kaberle. Included in Schenn's 25:50 was 7:20 of shorthanded work.
Despite not scoring, and not generating a lot of shots, I thought both teams took turns taking it to the other, but for the most part, it was a hard-fought game, dominated by some great—and lucky—goaltending.
Leafs' Lack of Injury Description Frustrates
As always has been the case with the Maple Leafs, the lack of injury knowledge is truly frustrating, both as a fan and a journalist.
Jeff Finger, who played only one preseason game, was injured with a "sore foot" and was expected to be out until possibly opening night. Cliff Fletcher said if Finger didn't play in last Thursday's game against the Red Wings, he would go Saturday against Montreal.
Well, here we are a week later, and Jeff Finger is not in the lineup.
Now, I am not blaming Finger. Hey, if you get hurt, you get hurt. But why do the Leafs feel the need to leave everyone in the dark on injuries?
They have done it in the past with the likes of Carlo Colaiacovo, Kyle Wellwood, and Mats Sundin, and they are doing it again this year.
Leafs Get Technological Help
Ron Wilson has always been known as a coach with a strong grasp on technology, and he is busy integrating it into the Toronto Maple Leafs early on in this season.
Last week on Hockey Night in Canada, CBC's Elliotte Friedman got the chance to go one-on-one with the new Maple Leafs coach, and got the chance to check out one of Ron Wilson's biggest piece of coaching technology, the Smart Board System.
Wilson and his coaching staff are back at it again, this time putting the finishing touches on a tablet PC, which will be wired to a SlingBox, and mounted at both ends of the Maple Leafs bench.
The coaching staff has used this system in the past while they were in San Jose coaching the Sharks.
Coaches and players will be able to access real-time replays, as well as stats on the bench during games. The coaches feel this is a great way to help players understand instructions better.
Pink Ribbon Night
Before I go, here are some quick links that may interest you as you count down the hours to puck drop
Pink Ribbon Night. As you probably know by now, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the NHL is always ready to help out this great cause wherever possible.
You've probably already seen players wearing the decals on their helmets. Tuesday is Pink Ribbon Night for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they are at the Air Canada Centre welcoming the Anaheim Ducks.
Leafs' players wives and girlfriends will be out in the concourse collecting donations in exchange for pink ribbons.
Also, there is the auction, which is going on right now. By following the link above, you can check out all the items up for auction. Among them are a team autographed third jersey, a chance to have Matt Stajan come to your minor hockey practice, the chance to become a "Leaf for a day," and a whole lot more.
That's it for Leafs Notes for this Saturday afternoon. Be sure to check back following tonight's final horn, as I will have a full game recap and the return of my Game Thoughts!
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