The big news yesterday was, without a doubt, the final trimming of the Leafs' lineup to bring the Buds down to the maximum of 23 skaters. Although much of this was already well-documented and debated in yesterday's FTB, I would feel neglectful if I didn't first point you to James Mirtle's article on the subject at the Globe, as well as Danny Gray's treatment of the issue at The Leafs Nation. If you have not yet seen them, go to those links now.
But what has yet to be so widely discussed is an article posted over at The Leafs Nation that features contributions from all your favorite writers as they each pick a "Star" and a "Goat" for this upcoming season. Lo, I present to you an exemplification of such prognostication:
STAR: JOHN-MICHAEL LILES
I'm taking the road less travelled; no one reads prediction posts to hear that a team's best player (Kessel or Grabovski) will be the hero all year. Liles looked great in preseason and should bring it from the blue line like nobody we've seen since the departure of Tomas Kaberle.
GOAT: JOFFREY LUPUL
I don't think Lupul is healthy enough or talented enough to skate with Tim Connolly and Phil Kessel. He's an offense only player who doesn't bring a ton of offense and skates like he replaced his blades with anvils. The good news is that if Frattin can handle the third line role and Grabovski's line is taking the toughest assignments the "first" line may be able to handle the addition of Nazem Kadri.
There are plenty of links available for consumption, digestion, and pooping, so have your fill and don't forget to wipe.
Nazem Kadri’s Draft Class
Jonathan Willis points out that none of the other players from Kadri's draft class have made a big impact in the league yet, so we shouldn't worry about this young player just yet.
Down Goes Brown: 2011-12 Season Preview
Toronto Maple Leafs: Tim Connolly finally solved the team's long-standing need for a first-line center by arriving at training camp, pointing at Mikhail Grabovski, and saying "Um, he's been here for three years".
Your predictions as we get ready for six months of Maple Leaf hockey
Michael Langlois of VLM wants to hear from his readers - what do you think?
Vintage Leafs: Jiri Crha Photograph
This, and more, over at Vintage Leafs. Go browse around. (If you're like me, you had no idea the Leafs ever employed a goaltender named Jiri Crha. Look, supernintendo Chalmers, I'm learnding!)
Toronto Maple Leafs Season Preview (Part 1)
Raihan Hussain deems the Leafs 'light on offense'. From the Hockey Writers.
Other Hockey Links:
Video: Shanahan’s 1st no-suspension video on Ryan Malone hit
Link and notes from Wyshynski. Interesting fodder for debate.
Mike Milbury on NHL suspensions: ‘a lot of pink hats out there’
I don't know why they keep letting him out to speak on live television, but there you have it. Video and article from Greg Wyshynski at PD.
On Whether Or Not Europeans 'Disappear' In The Playoffs
It's a ridiculous premise to begin with, but I don't mind posting a link to any article that rationally de-bunks any of the stupid, "old-school" hockey platitudes. From Triumph, at Driving Play.
Gabe Desjardins on Team 1040
OK, so this was on yesterday, but you can probably find a link to listen to it today. Hawerchuk's always good for a few thoughtful points.
Crosby to begin season on injured reserve
It's not exactly shocking news at this point, but Crosby will miss at least one week of regular season action. From the CP at the Globe.
City OKs deal to keep Jackets in Columbus
Municipal politicians work on deal for purchase of Nationwide Arena. I'm not sure why, but I kinda have a soft spot for Columbus. I'd like to see them do well this year. Glad to hear they're sticking around. From the AP at the Globe.
N.Y. Rangers fall in Switzerland
Good grief, I know it's the preseason, but losing 8-4 to a Swiss League team? Yeesh.
Capitals' star Alex Ovechkin heads to Moscow following death in family
Bummer. The team is hopeful that he'll be back in time for the season opener. From the AP at the Globe.
Blackhawks sign Ray Emery to one-year deal
No dollar value listed in this article, but I'm sure it's nothing much. From the AP at the Globe.
How much NHL Center Ice will cost you for 2011-12 season
A lot of folks have been hemming and hawing about whether or not to go for NHL Center Ice, so here's a rundown of what you'd be getting. From Sean Leahy at PD.
Rossy’s OHL Rundown
This is a great compilation of news and notes from this week in the OHL from Brendan Ross at The Hockey Writers.