Tonight the Toronto Maple Leafs play against a very good New York Islanders team. The Leafs being a very bad team will offer little hope to the fans in attendance that they are capable of beating New York and instead have little to offer their paying customers other than to watch young Leafs establish themselves in key roles on the Leafs.
That’s probably why it’s bizarre that Nazem Kadri, the de facto top center on the team will be scratched tonight and see his ice time divided up between Tyler Bozak, Peter Holland, Trevor Smith, and Zack Sill. While as a long time member of tank nation I support all things necessary to lose, I can’t help but think that those in attendance who paid $500 for a night of hockey want something better than Trevor Smith. I guess this rebuild will be embarrassing as well as painful.
If the Leafs play their bottom three lines with any regularity tonight we won’t be in any danger of seeing something resembling competitive hockey from Toronto tonight. The story for the Leafs will continue to be whether players like Panik, Holland, and Erixon can prove their worth to the Leafs and if players like Gardiner and Rielly can show they are ready for bigger roles. Thankfully there is only 16 more games of suffering through these individual success story narratives.
Roman Polak has opted to go with season ending surgery and Granberg has been recalled (here’s the full story)
Mikhail Grabovski is hurt which is unfortunate for those of us who are quite fond of the crazy Belarusian, but this is exciting for the enemies of basic math who will likely spend the night talking about how useless he is. Thankfully for the Islanders they have many good players, as one would hope for after a decade of mediocre or worse hockey. I am particularly fond of John Tavares and Ryan Strome who I secretly wish played for my favourite team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- Better Call Saul is an excellent TV show that is on tonight that I can’t recommend enough.
- If you insist on watching hockey, I suggest a nap after dinner to catch one of the many fine late games available
- If you insist on watching this game, here’s what you’re looking for
- Nikolay Kulemin should be good for a point or two, such is the law of former Leafs.
- Count the number of times you hear about Tavares being from the GTA or that Ryan Strome has a brother in the draft.
- Using the eye test, where does Eric Brewer fit in with your rankings of horrible Leafs defensemen?
- How much ice time do Sill and Smith receive with Kadri needlessly sitting?
- Also that Tyler Kennedy person is an interesting looking fellow isn’t he?