Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Peepin' Foes Preview Edition: Toronto Maple Leafs

Oh the truculence. Has there been a single article written about Toronto that hasn't used Brian Burke's catchword this year? While it has been used ad nauseum, it is the sentiment that the GM has built the team around. The Leafs will not score a lot of goals and they won't blow you away with their skill, but they will be tough to play against.

Familiar Foes: The one-two punch of Sloppy Seconds - Dion Phaneuf and Mike Komisarek - anchor the Buds' blueline. They will be joined by Francois Beauchemin, Luke Schenn and Tomas Kaberle. Yes, you were inundated with Kaberle trade talk last year as well as last summer but the sound and the fury signified nothing as the Czech playmaker didn't go anywhere. In net will be the same tandem that ended last season, JS Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson. The offense will revolve again around the talent of Phil Kessel and an underwhelming cast of second-hand players. Tyler Bozak, Nik Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski will help out with some skill (not a whole lot) while our old pal Freddie Sjostrom adds defensive responsibility and Colton Orr adds on-ice accountability.

N00bz: Orr will be helped in the truculence department by Mike Brown, who was brought in this offseason from Anaheim. Bruek also acquired Crosby's buddy Colby Armstrong, Buffalo cast-off Clarke MacArthur and Cup winner Kris Versteeg. Luca Caputi came to the team in a deadline deal last season and is expected to play a big role, as is 2009 top draft pick Nazem Kadri.

Last Year: Monday, October 12th 7-2 Ranger win; Saturday, October 17th 4-1 Ranger win; Saturday, March 27th 3-2 Toronto OT win; and Wednesday, April 7th 5-1 Ranger win

This Year: Friday, October 15th at MSG; Thursday, October 21st in Toronto; Saturday, October 30th in Toronto; and Wednesday, January 19th at MSG.

What They Mean To Blue: With three early games, they will hopefully play their part in being steamrolled in yet another hot start by the Rangers. The Blueshirts came out of the gates quite well the last two seasons and having the hapless Leafs should certainly help make it three in a row. It will also be interesting to see the inevitable Orr vs Boogaard heavyweight battle. Orr basically ended Donald Brashear's Ranger career before it started - and we are forever indebted to him for it - so he will prove a litmus test for our new goon.

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