Leaf Lines To Take a Bit More Shape Tonight

Toronto maple leafs

Colorado Avalanche

BY:Jeff Schneberk

This morning when I got up, I heard one of the most interesting things about the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The NHL’s Twitter feed uploaded a Canadian Press story saying Leaf Head Coach Randy Carlyle NOT sticking with the status quo as the team has opened up the season with three straight wins.

If you think about it long enough, and I believe I have, what on earth does that even mean? The status quo. Who sticks to the status quo and what is it as it pertains to coaching a team in the greatest league of the greatest sport on earth?

Supposedly it means doing things the way they are ‘supposed’ to be done. That’s interesting too, because who is to say ‘how’ something is supposed to be done?

When you are the Head Coach of any team, part of your task is to do things, your way. You have a certain amount of freedom.

Anyway, I am no philosopher or anything like that so I am going to stick to hockey here.
I think what the journalist who put the piece together for the CP is trying to say is that just because the Leafs have obviously had some success through not even the first full week of the season (it will be one official week tomorrow night-around 10pm), Coach Carlyle has found a way to win games.

That is something that Paul Maurice and Ron Wilson, and a few others, could not do.
I am starting to like this guy. His occasional press conferences are hilarious. He is slowly winning Toronto over, if he hasn’t done so already.
However, word also came out within the past 24 hours that GM David Nonis is taking phone calls regarding defenseman Jake Gardiner.

No-no, Nonis.

Toronto Maple Leaf GM David Nonis looks like he's sweating something...could it be over D-man Jake Gardiner?

Toronto Maple Leaf GM David Nonis looks like he’s sweating something…could it be over D-man Jake Gardiner?

Don’t do that.

Anyways back to my original point way up there in the top paragraph.

According to that CP report, Carlyle is going to toy with the lines again tonight. Here’s what I really like about this guy. Rather than keep Joffrey Lupul, Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak playing together all season long, this line accounts for most of the top scoring on the team, Carlyle is about to break them up, again, and again and again.

Lupul, David Bolland and Mason Raymond practiced together and are expected to play together tonight when the Colorado Avalanche make their first appearance tonight at the ACC.

The awesome part about that happening is that the line was put together half way through the Ottawa game. Do we all recall what happened about half way through that game? The Leafs made their comeback, starting with about 12 seconds left in the second period when Lupul tallied.

That was something we hadn’t seen before in Leafland. When this team used to fall behind by more than two goals, they were done.

With more on that status quo thing, this right here is the craziest part. Nazem Kadri practices with the third line, alongside Jay McClement and Troy Bodie. My first thought was ‘wow’ (for McClement) and ‘who?’ (for Bodie). Then apparently it came out that McClement may be a scratch for tonight for some reason.

Now comes the part that should scare the shit out of the Ava. The three guys whom nobody should want to play against, are supposedly skating together tonight. Jamie Devane, who made a name for himself when he dropped Buffalo’s Corey Tropp and gave him a concussion, will be centreing the other two Leafs who can do that too; Carter Ashton is a little-known physical force, and Colton Orr is the new Tie Dome (except Orr is 10 times bigger).

Also for tonight, it is expected that Jonathan Bernier should and probably will get the start In goal.

And, interestingly enough, Carlyle isn’t expected to make any changes on the blue line from what they used against Ottawa on Saturday.

Asides from tonight’s matchup with the Colorado Avalanche. On Thursday night, they are in Nashville to play the Predators, and on Saturday they return home to host the Edmonton Oilers.



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