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Game Preview and Open Chat: Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs

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Watch Mitch Marner play in a Leafs' jersey! Okay, it's mostly Binghampton at the Marlies, but it's still almost real hockey.

Kappy's in the game too!
Kappy's in the game too!
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Ottawa at Toronto: Preseason game one

Time: 6 pm Eastern Time
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Broadcast: TSN4, TSN5

First, the serious business

I wish I could just make fun of the team that tossed Colin Greening in the AHL because they were angry he wasn't Jason Spezza. But Sunday afternoon, the Senators held a scrimmage at their fan fest day in Ottawa. At that event, an incident occurred that was terrible in a number of ways.

Let's back up a little first. The Senators traded Alex Chiasson to the Flames last summer for Patrick Sieloff. Sieloff is a modestly sized defender who the Flames had drafted, played in the AHL, and had no use for. He had 132 PIM and 16 points in 102 AHL games. His play in junior levels of hockey held to the same pattern.

Oh, you're saying, he's one of those. Yes, yes, he is. And a brief glance at his Elite Prospects page clued us in with no problem.

We all should be heartbroken, but let's be clear about one thing: Pierre Dorion traded for Sieloff, knew what he was about, and put the guy on the ice with his players anyway.

Dorion put MacArthur in a position to be harmed exactly in the way he was harmed, so while I will gladly say that Sieloff is a jackass and is personally responsible for his actions, so is Dorion. Responsible, at least in part, that is, I'll leave the question of his character to you to decide.

Guy Boucher said that it was just a normal hockey play. And I think for many people inside hockey culture, it is normal. It always was, and while they know intellectually the game has changed, they haven't.

The problem here was not that Sieloff hit MacArthur, who is a star, a man who is living with the effects of previous concussions and just coming back to the game. All that is colour commentary. The play was the hit, and the hit was filthy dirty.

Meanwhile on the intermission panel for the World Cup semifinal on Sunday, the following exchange occurred (transcript courtesy of Species):

MACLEAN: First NHL exhibitions are today, and intrasquad games, and bad news out of... Clarke MacArthur.
FRIEDMAN: Well, Clarke MacArthur... he's a popular teammate. I think he only played four games last year because of a concussion issue. (showing clip of hit) Patrick Sieloff who played last year in Calgary is the guy who hits them there and Bobby Ryan went after Sieloff, and after this was over Chris Neil tried to also. They announced, Pierre Dorion the GM of the Senators, that MacArthur does have a concussion. I mean it's brutal news and you hope Clarke is OK because he's battled through a lot to get back here, Kelly.
HRUDEY: So there's history here. Pat Sieloff as you mentioned was in Calgary and in training camp a couple years ago he was doing the same thing and it really angered the veterans, so much so that the Flames' management, before camp even, they told them be aware of this guy because this is how he plays. Now, that's an appealing style, you just don't do it to your own guys in pre-season. That's ridiculous.
KYPREOS: You know what? 15, 20 years ago, that happened every scrimmage and training camp.
HRUDEY: It sure did.
KYPREOS: But not today.
HRUDEY: And it shouldn't.
KYPREOS: And I can appreciate a guy trying to go out there and earn a regular job.
HRUDEY: Right.
KYPREOS: But that's what exhibition games are for.

Oh, really? Is that what exhibition games are for? Is that an appealing style? Boarding from behind, totally blindsided? Is that what a guy is supposed to be doing to prove his edge and his grit and the heft of his damn testicles? Kypreos is spouting absolute bloody nonsense here and Hrudey isn't far behind him . Maybe that all seems normal and right to them, but they don't speak for the game like they think they do.

Keep that kind of behaviour and that attitude away from the Leafs, Sens, keep it far away.

You want to check hard, let's do that. You want to be snarly and all rivalry night about it, yes, indeed, let's have that. You want to hit a guy in a way nearly guaranteed to cause a traumatic injury? No bloody way.

I'd say keep it away from the Marlies, but we all know that the Sens won't dump their bad apple farther than the A. Asset management argues against that. We'll be seeing more of this guy. Even if the NHL steps up and suspends him, which they won't, he would still be eligible to play in the AHL.

Now, back to the exhibition games, which are about proving things, just not proving how reckless you can be with other people's lives.

Who are you, Leafs?

To set the mood for this part:

The Leafs announced their lineup for this first game, and it is very, very Marlies. Rather than give you lines, which will likely be mixed up in seconds as the game goes on, I'll give you names and numbers.

Forwards

12 Connor Brown
16 Mitch Marner
23 Brooks Laich
28 Kasperi Kapanen
36 Kerby Rychel
38 Colin Greening
43 Nazem Kadri
45 Marc-André Cliche
49 Rich Clune
56 Byron Froese
61 Andreas Johnsson
82 Brandon Prust
91 Trevor Moore

Defenders

2 Matt Hunwick
20 Frank Corrado
51 Jake Gardiner
77 Raman Hrabarenka
58 Andrew Nielsen
53 Rinat Valiev
48 Andrew Campbell

Goaltenders

30 Antoine Bibeau
50 Kasimir Kaskisuo

You know all those guys, right? Of course you don't.

Let's start with that amazing collection of defenders. Gardiner and Corrado seemed destined to be the top pair and hopefully play the entire game. After that, you have lefties Hunwick, Nielsen, Valiev and Campbell, with Hrabarenka as the lone rightie.

Nielsen is a Leafs draft pick who got in a few games with the Marlies last year and looked very hot at the rookie tournament. He's got a big body, a big shot and he moves well.

The rest of those guys you know, except for that last one. Hrabarenka is a former New Jersey draft pick who played well but not spectacularly on the Albany Devils. He's on a PTO, likely as much for the righty thing as the guy Lou drafted thing.

I saw him play for Belarus in the Olympic qualifier, and he was very good on that team made up largely of KHL professionals. He could, I'm sure, go make a lot more money playing for Dinamo Minsk right now. This is his chance to prove he's worth at least a spot on the (very short of righties) Marlies blueline.

Rinat Valiev seemed to have aged right out of that rookie tournament, so it will be interesting to see how he does in a semi-NHL game.

Now the forwards. Kadri starts off at 1C, and other options at centre include Cliche, Froese and Laich (three fourth line centres for the price of one, what a deal). Marner may draw in here just out of necessity. Cliche is capable of playing a very limited NHL role at centre, but cannot play offensively at NHL speed, not that we are guaranteed an NHL speed game tonight.

The plethora of wingers is a little better, with Brown leading the list in more ways than one. It will be excellent to see Johnsson, Rychel and Moore as well. It's time to see what these guys have.

Who are we playing?

Your Ottawa Senators, that's who!

They are missing MacArthur, obviously, Mark Stone who has a concussion and Curtis Lazar who has mono.

Forwards

10 Tom Pyatt
13 Nick Paul
14 Mike Blunden
23 Chad Nehring
26 Matt Puempel
37 Casey Bailey
44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau
47 Francis Perron
51 Logan Brown
56 Zack Stortini
81 Phil Varone
89 Max McCormick

Defenders

6 Chris Wideman
21 Michael Kostka
39 Andreas Englund
54 Guillaume Lepine
72 Thomas Chabot
73 Chris Carlisle
74 Mark Borowiecki

Goaltenders

30 Andrew Hammond
32 Chris Driedger

The only notables there are 2016 draft pick Logan Brown, 2015 pick Thomas Chabot and Andreas Englund, who was in Sweden until now.

This camp is also being billed as Matt Puempel's last chance to make an impression--really, his real last chance, not like those other last chances, this time they mean it. It's tough having a prospect pool shallower than the average Ottawa sinkhole.

Projected Leafs lines

Bibeau to start.

That's your first preview of the preseason, so now all that's left is to say: Go Marlies, Go!