There were some interesting items of note from today’s Leafs camp scrimmages. For example, 19-year-old Morgan Rielly skated on a defensive pairing with Dion Phaneuf. More interesting to me though was just how nasty things got.
Here’s what went down.
Things getting chippy. Ashton runs Gunnarsson and then slashes McLaren. McLaren tosses Ashton to ice and then heads to dressing room
— Mike Brophy (@HockeyBroph) September 14, 2013
McLaren going for x-rays on a possible broken pinky. Collided with Ashton and left immediately after.
— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) September 14, 2013
Obviously we can make jokes like "Oh awesome! Frazer McLaren might be out of the lineup!" Regardless of what you think of McLaren as a player, if you’re applauding an injury, that’s pretty douchey.
The nastiness continued after defensive prospect Jesse Blacker scored on a penalty shot.
6-3 final white in a cihippy game. Ross and ashton both take runs at blacker. #TMLtalk
— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) September 14, 2013
Ashton has a burr in his saddle. Nails Blacker, Blacker nails him, they almost fight. #Leafs
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) September 14, 2013
Obviously, Carter Ashton is itching to get back into the NHL. He didn’t produce a single point in his 15-game tryout during the epic black hole of suckage that was the late 2011-12 Leafs season, and his AHL production was literally cut in half last season, falling from his 38 point total in 2011-12 to 19 points in 2012-13.
Looking down the Leafs’ depth chart at forward, it’s not unreasonable to assume that Ashton could see some NHL time this season if the big club has a few injuries up front. He wants to show that he’s ready to play with the big boys, and he won’t back down to anybody, not even one of the biggest, toughest forwards the Leafs have.
That being said, if he broke McLaren’s finger, that’s not a good look. Standing up to the guy is one thing, but it’s also your own team’s training camp. I’m sure the Leafs admire his guts, but I can’t see them appreciating him taking out a guy they just signed to a two-year contract extension before the season starts.
Also worthy of mention, Carlyle said he might try McLaren out on the PK. If he can’t compete in camp, I can’t see that happening. Whether you agree with using McLaren on the PK or not, this is a huge opportunity for him that he could be missing out on.
But this is a tough game. I’m sure Carter Ashton wants to play in the show as much as every other one of his teammates on this roster, but I highly doubt he would purposely injure a teammate to do it. Compounding the slash on McLaren with the cross-check and almost fight with Blacker, Ashton’s a man on a mission.