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Thrashers at Leafs

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Puck Drop: 7:00PM ET Sportsnet Ontario

Leafs' coach Ron Wilson says he hopes former players Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina won't be feted with a ceremony tonight. - Jonas Siegel

Tonight marks the return of a player who wasn't fully appreciated in Toronto even after he left. He had issues with his knee while he was here and was a solid player but didn't fit Burke's idea for a rebuilding team and was shipped out. That player of course is Pavel Kubina.

I think we were all expecting to replace Kubina's offense with Francois Beauchemin's. Obviously that hasn't happened. What's odd is that Happy Trails dropped a 102.2mph bomb in the hardest shot competition, capping what must have been bizarro weekend as Rickard "They Glue A Stick To My Hands Because I Can't Be Trusted Not To Drop It" Wallin won the shot accuracy contest.

Other promising ex-Leafs with knee injuries playing for the Thrashers include Nik Antropov, who has only 2 goals this year (yikes) but has 21 assists to give him 23 points in 26 games. I don't think anyone here saw Antropov as a setup guy, but I'm assuming he plays with Kovalchuk and that should boost his assist total. Strange though, Antropov played very well down the stretch for the Rangers last year including scoring a bunch of beautiful top shelf goals from the faceoff circles, he'll probably find his game tonight knowing our luck.

Garnet Exelby back in against his former team. Jeff Finger scratched. Rickard Wallin in as well. - Jonas Siegel

Christian Hanson has been returned to the Marlies in what I hope is a planned move; bring the kids up to get a taste and then send them back down to work on problems. Hanson looked good aside from his first game up and I didn't see the Boston game (thank god), so he should understand what he needs to do.

The puzzling move here is Exelby for Finger. Burke needs to shit or get off the pot with Finger; he's a better defenseman than Exelby hands down but with a bigger cap hit. If we're not going to waive Finger we might as well use him rather than have his cap hit in the press box.

Gustavsson couldn’t pinpoint an exact return date—he’ll need the incision in his groin area to heal—but he said that this time around was definitely better than last.

"Feels like I have more power now after this procedure than after the last one," he said. - Eat. Sleep. Leafs.
Gustavsson will probably be out more than a week while the incision in his groin heals and Joey MacDonald got shelled in Boston which means in addition to Rickard "Useless" Wallin coming back into the lineup Vesa Toskala will be in net.

The Thrashers come in to tonight's game at 15-8-3, the Eastern Conference's #6 seed. I have no faith whatsoever in Toskala or Exelby and combined with the return of Kubina and Antropov as well as this being a weekday home game against a Southeast opponent tonight is going to be terrible.

Don't forget your SPG picks, and no you can't pick Antropov, check out Bird Watchers Anonymous for Thrashers coverage and go Leafs go!