Leafs Nation Countdown: 4 More Days to Game Time

Jamie ThainContributor IIIOctober 11, 2011

TORONTO, CANADA - OCTOBER 8: Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs scores his third goal against Alex Auld #35 of the Ottawa Senators during NHL action at the Air Canada Centre October 8, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

Suffering withdrawal from Leafs hockey? Who on the earth thought it was a good idea to have two games at home and then plan a week off? Finally, after waiting 180 days to see the boys in blue and white take the ice, just like that they are gone. 

The Leafs are actually at CFB Trenton and, with no real hockey to play, have been working out with the soldiers and team-building. The good thing is there are at least a dozen interviews to watch on NHL.com where essentially they are asked, "Is team-building good?" to which they respond, "Yes."

Although beyond that revelation, there are a few pieces of great news.

Cody Franson is scheduled to play, but there has not been a decision of who he is replacing in the lineup. "When you're winning, it won't matter it will be about the team and not the individual,"  Ron Wilson told NHL.com.

I am betting Carl Gunnarsson will hit the sidelines so they can try out Franson with Phaneuf. 

Nazem Kadri is also healing faster than expected and Ron Wilson said "the little bastard is coming back quicker than expected puts a little heat on me."

Currently, he is penciled in to be on the bench as an extra with Rosehill and Orr. Frattin has been moved back to the third line with Lombardi. Kadri will likely get some time with the third line and definitely put some pressure on Frattin. 

Clarke MacArthur will be returning to the lineup. And although Matt Frattin had an excellent preseason, he has yet to produce a point. MacArthur, being a big part of the MacRussian line, will obviously be looking forward to playing with his mates again—especially since they have been promoted to the No. 1 line.

As a team-bonding event, they went for a ride in a C-17, which is like riding in a big empty cargo container and you're the cargo strapped to the walls. The strapping is there because the military pilots do higher performance flying (meaning throw-up-like moves) than civilian planes. Clarke MacArthur commented that he was "able to retain lunch." See picture here http://yfrog.com/h8jc7vij. 

If you're really really trying to get over the hump, there are about lots of interviews on NHL.com. Once you get through that, apparently there is some baseball tournament going on in Detroit to pass the time until Saturday. 

It is great for the Leafs that they would take some time out and hang with the military guys who sacrifice so much for Canada.

However, they are definitely missed at home and the entire Leafs Nation media will have less and less to write about before the weekend, while each of us suffer greater and greater withdrawal. 

Let us all hope the Buds return to Toronto before we gnaw our remote hands off with frustration. Maybe Burkie could cook up a few trades and just even hint about them to give us something to talk about at the old water cooler. 

We miss Leafs hockey!