On a day like today, you can’t help but get caught up in the hysteria. The Dion Phaneuf trade. The potential implications for the return. Steven Stamkos being chased around Montreal by paparazzi bloggers. It’s the most wonderful time of the season; silly season.
It’s also easy to forget that the Leafs actually have a hockey game tonight, which involves Phaneuf’s former team taking on his former-er team.
With the bulk of the roster either traded, on IR, or on planes to scenic Alberta, today’s roster looks like a shell of a hockey team. Only eight skaters on tonight’s roster haven’t played for the Toronto Marlies in the past 3 years, all of whom were acquired; all except for Roman Polak. Somehow, Brad Boyes and Mark Arcobello still can’t get top six minutes.
On the point, the team will be playing their first game of the no-Dion era, and their last before a break in the no-Cowen era. I’m really curious to see how the lines get juggled once the 6’7 behemoth jumps into the lineup.
Matt Stajan is officially the only player remaining from the first Phaneuf trade to remain on his then-new team. On the fourth line, but he’s still here. The Flames won their last game (a 4-1 victory against the Canucks), so for the sake of the tank, one would hope they can carry that momentum into tonight.
James Reimer is starting in goal for the Leafs. He gave up 3 goals in 8 shots against the Senators, but as proven throughout Saturday night, the problem was with the team more-so than him or Jonathan Bernier. He’s 0.929 on the road this year, even with that loss considered; there’s no reason to not give him another chance.
Going up against him is Jonas Hiller. The Swiss rightie is having a heck of the year, putting up a save percentage that would’ve been amazing in 1983 (0.890). He did stop 34 of 35 against the Canucks, however, so maybe he can pull another huge performance out?
What To Watch For
Puck drop is at 9 PM.