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Pre-Season Game 1: Toronto Maple Leafs 2 v. Boston Bruins 3

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The Toronto Maple Leafs fell to the Boston Bruins in the Coca-Cola "Zero Fans" First Game 3-2. The Leafs' goals were scored by Brian Burke's twin college signings Tyler Bozak on a gorgeous shorthanded rush and Viktor Stalberg on the powerplay. Unfortunately, the more things change the more they remain the same as the Bruins' game winning goal was scored by a former Leaf returning to Toronto for the first time. As if that wasn't bad enough, it was Andy "are you shitting me?" Wozniewski.


Complete SBN Coverage: Bruins vs Maple Leafs coverage
Opposition View: Stanley Cup of Chowder

James Duthie apparently is in mid-season form as his interviewing skills were as bad as ever. The man can handle the panel and keep things going but when it comes to asking questions he has no sense of who he is speaking with. He made MacTavish visibly upset not only by begging him to revisit his firing but by then following that up by asking MacT if he was going to be nice to the media. Of course, Burke's interview in the next intermission was truculence personified as he refused to tell Duthie about any movement on Kessel and then told him he wouldn't tell him anyway. Again, Duthie whined about thinking that Burke's relationship with the media was going to be different from last year. Guess what Duthie? If you are going to ask terrible questions you'll get mean replies.

Anyway, I was at the U2 concert which was incredible especially with the SkyDome open so I didn't get to watch the game in much detail other than noting that I was right to take the over on the 2.5 fights line. Thankfully a couple of friendly readers were present. After the jump read their thoughts and then share your own.

One thing that got a lot of mention was the fact that there were a lot of empty seats. Last year was the same story and Richard Peddie nailed the nail on the head when he noted why it happened:

It's just classic. Anything that's given away free, people don't attribute as much value to it," he said. "Anything free, you won't get 100 per cent (of) people showing up."

It's unreal. What the Leafs could do if this was really about the fans and not about getting their contact information and making them buy sponsors' products is to throw the doors open two hours before the game and let seating be first-come, first-served. That would cut out the scalpers and ensure that only people that are going to actually go to the game would fill the seats. Anyway, enough about the cynical "free" game. Onto our readers' reactions to the game:

From Leafies:

I was lucky enough to be at the game, and even contributed in getting a gentleman kicked out for throwing stuff onto the ice and at other fans in the stands. Woo!

Jason Allison is exactly what I thought he’d be, a great hockey mind with the hands to succeed, but looked like he was walking on skates compared to the pace that others kept up.

Aside from the 1 penalty that Beauchemin took, he was rock solid, and really helped out pushing the puck in deep a few times. I think he was one of the strongest defencemen in that game.

I don’t want to get too crazy on this point, cause I know it’s the first PRE-SEASON game, but it seemed like a few times the forwards or d doubled-teamed on a hit instead of having one drop back, (specifically on the 1st goal) that caused trouble for the team. I know you’re trying to impress, but maybe having everyone try for the open ice hit isn’t the best idea..

Yeah or Ney
+ Kulemin
++ Bozak
+ Finger
+ Rosehill (the best ‘pick and shovel’ players I saw this game)

- Stalberg (aside from his goal, and some really fast bursts of speed, I found he threw a lot of blind passes and weak angled shots. prob just nerves, I can definitely see him growing into a great player, but tonight wasn’t his strongest performance)
- Deveaux
- Allison (see above)

Goaltending didn’t look much different from last year. :S

From our 'Insider' Archimedies:

Thoughts…

- Stalberg is not shy whastsoever. Early in the 3rd, he and Hanson led a forchecking clinic. Not afraid to get dirty.

- BIG fan of Colton Orr. While it seemed like Phil O and Deveaux were just fighting to prove they’re willing to fight, Orr impressed me by being physical while at the same time not being a crippling liability on the ice. I have no worries at all that Orr will be the first to drop the gloves when a situation of his skills are neccessary, so it’s comforting to know he’s not Ryan Hollweg.

- If I were to clone a baby from Leaf DNA, it would have Luke Schenn’s hair and Nazem Kadri’s hands.

- Its so nice to look down and see BEAUCHEMIN 22 in front of our net. Such an incredible feeling. I just felt so safe, so comfortable.

- It appears the fringe #5 and #6 D-pairing and 4th line time will clearly be given to whomever plays the most physical.

- Obviously my Bozak boner is out of control right now. The line on the ice for the final 25 seconds was Kadri-Bozak-Mitchell-Stalberg-Beauchemin-White. Seemed like the right call and reflects the top-6 players tonight.

- Please tell me Jason Allison isn’t making this team. He was slow 3 years ago, and he didn’t get any faster or better at winning battles. I would expect an NHL-calibre veteran to stand out above the level of players Boston used tonight and he did for all the wrong reasons.

- Wayne Primeau, on the other hand, knows his role, shuts his mouth, and gets the job done.

- Not overly impressed by Vesa or Joey McDonald, who sounds like he should be in a boy band.

Now's your turn to jump in. Who impressed you last night? Who disappointed?