The Buds are in Edmonton today as their annual Western Canada road trip kicks off. The last time we saw the Oilers, they were embarrassing Toronto on home ice: a 5-0 drubbing on December 2nd that wasn't the best Leafs hockey we've seen this season. Ron Wilson and staff want to avoid similar setbacks this week. Wilson even went so far as to boo captain Dion Phaneuf in practice yesterday. James Mirtle of the Globe & Mail had the scoop:
"I was booing Dion because I think he’s going to hear it," Wilson said. "He’s going to hear it in all three places I would expect. We were just trying to have fun with Dion and getting him prepared."
The Leafs play the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday in Phaneuf’s hometown to begin the trip and the Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday to close it, but it’s his return to Calgary on Thursday that continues to receive most of the attention.
Another developing story is the return of Mike Komisarek and his fit on this team. He's the Leafs second highest paid defender, but is struggling to both stay healthy and get playing time. Wilson seemed to indicate that Komisarek will return the to line-up as soon as possible, although given his lack of confidence in the defenseman, that may not last long. In fact, Komisarek had been deployed sparingly before his recent injury. Per Mirtle:
Komisarek's ice time has been well down of late, with only 10:35, 9:43 and 10:35 minutes in his past three games. He has averaged a little under 16 minutes a game this season, well below the 19-plus minutes a game he has played in his past four seasons, and has made a few glaring mistakes in recent games.
I would expect Keith Aulie to be returned to the Marlies later this week when Komisarek returns.
More after the jump...
General Borchevsky picks his Leaf of the Week
VLM has some thoughts on Phil Kessel, this weeks hot topic
T.M.L examines both the current and future options in net
BoO understands why the Sens are doomed
A mini preview of the road trip from Puckin' Eh
Derek Zona of The Copper & Blue looks at the NHLE figures for the Leafs prospect pool