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From the Branches: Marlies on the rampage

"Can anything stop the Toronto Marlies' rampage across the American Hockey League?" --

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

It's almost like (former Tampa Bay player) Sheldon Keefe is a good coach and the Marlies have good players:

And yet the Marlies continue to win. They lead the AHL with 60 points, seven ahead of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. They have won 29 of their first 38 games (29-7-2-0) and 17 of their 20 road games (17-2-1-0) under rookie coach Sheldon Keefe.

Other than a brief post-holiday stumble, the Marlies have won nine of their past 11 games. They have won five consecutive games as they start to wind down a five-game road trip this week. (source)

Thank you for noticing,! The Marlies are definitely our shining bright stars in a season of rebuilding.

Leafs News

The Leaf: Blueprint Episode 4 airs tonight at 7:30 | Maple Leafs
I can't wait for this latest nicely made piece of Leafs propaganda! There's nothing like well-done commercials that justify the millions of dollars spent on team decisions, and I can't wait to rip into it with my critical media theory lens on!

What Leivo means to Maple Leafs youth movement | Sportsnet
"It was notable to see 22-year-old winger Josh Leivo recalled Monday after James van Riemsdyk suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left foot that could keep him out as long as two months."

Maple Leafs captain loves outdoor rink | Toronto Sun
"Dion Phaneuf indirectly had some advice for the fine citizens of Toronto: Get out and enjoy the outdoor hockey rink at Dieppe Park in East York."

James van Riemsdyk’s injury a blessing in disguise for Leafs | SI
"Leafs enter the week with 39 points, good for 27th place in the league standings. Or, more vitally, on pace to secure the fourth-most lottery balls for the draft this June."

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock looking for someone to step up in James van Riemsdyk’s absence | National Post
"There’s no sense talking about the guys who aren’t here, let’s talk about the guys who are here and let’s get to work."

Toronto Maple Leafs Rumors: Roman Polak Being Priced Out of a Trade | Tip of the Tower
"With the NHL trade deadline fast approaching, teams are starting to inquire about Roman Polak, but the Toronto Maple Leafs are currently setting the price too high."

Is T.J. Brennan the best defenceman in the AHL? | PPP
"The Marlies beat the Moose 4-1, and AHL All-Star T.J. Brennan is now tied with William Nylander in points. Just how good is he?"

Leafs take practice outdoors to delight of fans | PPP
"The Maple Leafs' outdoor practice at Dieppe Park rink was a hit with hundreds of fans turning out despite the cold weather."

Women's World Juniors Day 3: USA 3 - CANADA 1 - Playoffs are set. | PPP
More excellent reporting from El Seldo. "If the Canadians can't fix their special teams then they have no chance at gold, if they make it that far. It's as simple as that. The Americans put on a clinic tonight. Special teams and even strength were excellent. Majority of Canada's chances came at the perimeter and was key to the USA controlling the game for as long as they did."

Hockey News

Furies recap: Spooner vs Poulin - Canadiennes come out on top | PPP
"The CWHL billed this weekend as Natalie Spooner vs Marie-Philip Poulin, the league's top goal-scorer vs the league's point leader. The individual battle ended in a tie of two points each, but the Furies as a team weren't quite so lucky."

Brampton Thunder rain on the Calgary Inferno, win two | PPP
"The Thunder took on the league's best and came out of the weekend with four big points."

Denna Laing: "here we go" | SCOC
Words from Denna. She was able to speak yesterday, for the first time in a while, and I cried.

12 Players To Watch in the Champions League Semifinals | THW
Including Setoguchi!

Uncertainty weighs on Canes’ Eric Staal | News Observer
"The uncertainty, Eric Staal admits, has weighed upon him more than he has let on at times. It isn’t just about playing out the final year of his contract without knowing what comes next. As a player, he can deal with that. As a husband and father and brother, it gets a little tougher."

Old-time Hockey rears its ugly head again with Oiler’s hit on young Panthers star Ekblad | Vancouver Sun
"Mad Mike Milbury, if he gets the daily clips, will regard this column as more evidence of the "pansification" of hockey. Many veteran hockey writers will deplore a lack of support for the law-of-the-jungle ethos that informs their points of view."

John Scott on what NHL All-Star spot means to him, his family | Puck Daddy

Tales From Abroad: Russia | Player's Tribune
This was a fantastic read.

Vancouver maybe right place at wrong time for Luongo | Sportsnet
This was last year's story recycled, right?

And Puck Daddy reminded us of David Bowie and the NHL.


Mayhem in Vancouver after the Panthers loss. No one is saying who started it, but it doesn't really matter as everyone was involved.

Bruins Falter In Third, Fall 2-1 To Rangers | SCOC

Rangers Vs. Bruins: Did You Know Kevin And Jimmy Hayes Are Brothers? | BSB

Sharks avoid collapse in win over Flames | FTF

Flames Can't Find Enough Last-Minute Pressure, Fall To Sharks 5-4 | M&G