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From the Branches: Froese'n in the sun

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Last year, Froese was in the ECHL. This year, he's adding depth scoring to the Maple Leafs.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Whenever I attend a Solar Bears game I look with great interest at the roster of the opposition. The goaltenders are easy to get to know, because a lot of them (like Allen York) come with an NHL pedigree. Traveling within the division and seeing the same opponents over and over is common, and you get to know people on the opposing team almost as well as you know your own.

Sometimes, a player or two will impress by being better than their team, and better than yours, and I've been collecting these people slowly under the twitter hashtag "remembertheminors."  One person that no longer needs to be noticed in an ECHL arena is Byron Froese. His history starts in the ECHL, and all of us minor hockey people cheered last Saturday when he scored his first NHL goal.

My rival at MLHS, Mark R, wrote an excellent article about Froese and his year of rising to the top, and it's exactly the kind of hard-working and heroic tale you want to see coming out of the minors.

The next Solar Bears game I get to attend is on December 27, and even though the team isn't doing well so far this year (poor exhausted Ryan Massa), they are still doing exactly what they should be -- giving players the chance to play, improve, and rise.

Leafs Links

A year in the life of Byron Froese | MLHS
"Rewind a year and Froese was tearing up the ECHL for the Cincinnati Cyclones, looking for a second chance in the higher echelons of hockey."

Swamp Rabbits rout Solar Bears | Don Money
"In a fit of frustration, Orlando’s Brady Vail hit Cameron and the pair nearly came to blows."

Marner, Dermott make Team Canada roster | PPP
"Hockey Canada has announced their official roster for the 2016 World Junior Championship in Helsinki, and there are a couple familiar names for Leaf fans."

Maple Leafs recall Rich Clune from Marlies | Sportsnet
"The 28-year-old Clune has been held without a point in two games with the Maple Leafs this season."

Maple Leafs showing improvement under Babcock | Toronto Sun
"Toronto is 3-0-2 in its past five games, and opposing coaches have noted the difficulties of playing the Leafs."

Toronto Maple Leafs at Colorado Avalanche: Monday game preview | Toronto Star
"The Avalanche beat Edmonton 5-1 Saturday to improve to 17-16-1, giving them more wins than regulation losses for the first time this season."

Kings' trip goes off rails in 5-0 loss to Maple Leafs | LA Times
"Bernier, the former King who had recently been exiled to the minor leagues because of his shaky play, earned his first victory in 12 decisions this season and first shutout in nearly a year."

Ray Emery, now with the Toronto Marlies, is still wearing his Flyers mask | BSH

Other Hockey Links

Top 10 biggest busts of 2015 (Puck Daddy Year in Hockey) | PD
No Penguins?

Panthers' Jagr moves past Dionne on NHL goals list | NHL
You should see the fanfiction about this one!

Stalled Tukwila venture has advanced NHL cause for Seattle’s proposed Sodo arena | Seattle Times

How numbers predict the NHL season will finish | Sportsnet

Penguins GM Rutherford 'sick' over start: report | NHL

Recaps by Species

Jagr scored the goal to move him past Marcell Dionne on the all time goal list.

Jagr isn't the only talented Panther. Check out this shootout move. In a bizarre twist Miller was injured on this play and ex-Panther Jacob Markstrom was called in with no warm up.

Will DoPS be looking in to this?

Speaking of moves, Kuznetsov has 30 points in 32 games now.

The Monster is still alive!

Is that octopus is still alive?

ReCat: Panthers 5, Canucks 4 (SO) - Litter Box Cats
Aleksander Barkov beat replacement netminder Jacob Markstrom in the third round of the shootout for a 5-4 Florida win, their fourth in a row.

Schneider Excelled in Devils' 1-2 Shootout Loss to Bruins - All About The Jersey
Cory Schneider was amazing in another close game. Alas, the Boston Bruins took the game in the shootout for a 1-2 final score.

Lightning overtake Senators 5-2 to kick off six-game homestand - Raw Charge
Determined to bounce back from Friday night's gaffe, the Lightning overcame an early deficit and yet another injury to beat Ottawa for the second time in 10 days.

Wings Fight Fire With Fire, Douse Flames 4 - 2 - Winging It In Motown
After struggling in their last 2 games against Buffalo and Vancouver, the Wings looked to get back on track against the streaking Flames. Here's how it all went down

Washington's Seven Goals Worth Two Points - Japers' Rink
After a rough first period the Capitals bounced back to chase Henrik Lundqvist from home ice on their way to a 7 to 3 win at Madison Square Garden.

Chicago pulls off another comeback - Second City Hockey
In his 600th game Jonathan Toews lifts the Hawks over the Sharks in OT.