Today was day one of Maple Leafs training camp in Niagara Falls, and PPP was unable to send anyone to watch it in person, so I decided to enjoy it via Twitter.
Many, many people on Twitter sternly told their readers not to read too much into line combinations at training camp or to get upset or to pay any attention to this thing they are now tweeting out, and I have to say, I’ll get carried away and be outraged and take it super seriously if I like. It’s fun.
To that end:
Patrick Marleau begins his first #leafs training camp on a line with Frederick Gauthier and Leo Komarov.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 15, 2017
Long way from opening night.
Frederik Gauthier is back, which is good, and later in the day he had positive things to say, but it doesn’t sound like he’s game-ready yet:
Gauthier takes part in full practice. Says recovery from leg injury has gone well. Feels no limitations. More about conditioning / strength.— Dave McCarthy (@DaveAMcCarthy) September 15, 2017
Leo Komarov is playing on Patrick Marleau’s RW, exactly as he did in “informal” practice with Kadri as centre.
Swap Kadri* in, and the line is ready to go. Although, yesterday Mike Babcock said he has no idea where Marleau will play. Uh huh.
*It was reported later that Kadri hadn’t taken the ice all day.
A glimpse of the future today in the Falls, Travis Dermott and Timothy Liljegren paired up this morning. #tmltalk— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) September 15, 2017
If you mean future as in next month on the Marlies, it could be so. The left and right pairs up nicely, but to do it long term, you have to curb Dermott’s offensive abilities. Not sure I like that or expect it.
Liljegren and Dermott paired in this practice group on defence. Rookies battling each other for NHL spot.— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) September 15, 2017
No, no they are not. Left hand, right hand. And also, the total list of NHL D since 2007 who were 18:
18-year-old NHL defenders
The chance of Dermott cracking the lineup is slim. The chance of Liljegren doing it is indistinguishable from 0.
And now we swing over to which side the winger is on again:
I will get carried away if I like, you’re not my supervisor. And Leivo has always played LW by preference. That would be a hell of an AHL line, just saying. If that’s an NHL line then the IR list would need to be record-breaking.
I wasn’t the only one enjoying camp via Twitter. Seldo took issue with this absurd statement:
Niagara Falls fans out in force to watch the Leafs practice in Sabres country. pic.twitter.com/ifmI1PL7W6— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) September 15, 2017
smh. Torontonian doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to non-Toronto cities. Film at 11. https://t.co/aWRM92nkPE— Dadam (@ElSeldo) September 15, 2017
We all know seldo secretly has a Jack Eichel poster on the wall of his basement lair and an Alex Nylander jersey he wears to watch those Sabres games, so I don’t know why he’s mad.
More which winger is where:
Unless something unexpected happens, I think we are looking at a 4th line of Martin-Moore-Brown/Komarov, which would be a pretty good unit.— Michael Augello (@MikeInBuffalo) September 15, 2017
So count me as baffled by the idea of Komarov on that fourth line as I am by Hyman. What’s the point? If you feel you have a need for a defensive forward of Komarov’s ability, why are you putting him on a line that is already offensively null? Makes less sense than Hyman there, to be honest.
Although it would be fun to see Moore play with two of the most active hitters in the NHL. “Will one of you guys stop that for five seconds and play the puck?”
Did you know it’s Day One of Camp? The second big group of players took to the ice and included a familiar line.
Again....it's Day 1 of Camp, but Auston Matthews is going through drills with familiar linemates Zach Hyman and William Nylander. #Leafs— Michael Augello (@MikeInBuffalo) September 15, 2017
More lines that remain unchanged:
Matthews-Nylander-Hyman v Marner-Bozak-JVR to open the scrimmage pic.twitter.com/n7x1lWf2jx— Leafs Lunch (@LeafsLunch1050) September 15, 2017
Matt Martin, Carl Grundstrom and Mitch Marner have scored to give White a 3-0 lead on Blue in scrimmage after 1. #tmltalk— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) September 15, 2017
This is the best, because camp scrimmage goals mean a lot. Depending on who scores them. For some observers this was proof that Grundström (he keeps his ö because he’s going back to Sweden) is a hot prospect, but no one seems to want to put Martin on the top line. Odd, that.
It was, however, not a surprise that many people thought Marner looked like a top-notch player out there. But this is adorable:
Big moment for 18-year-old GK Ian Scott, stops a Marner breakaway. No sign in the scrimmage game of D Roman Polak, here on a PTO.— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) September 15, 2017
The part about Polak is interesting. He didn’t skate all day either.
The only notable “we’re working on stuff” news was Nylander taking the righty faceoffs and Matthews taking the lefty ones during the scrimmage. This is a Babcock/Bill Peters style of running a line with a lefty C and a righty on the wing. The short-term goal has to be to see Nylander take more draws and get to some level of competence at it. Nylander only took 122 faceoffs last year and had a win percentage of 40.
No player other than the centres took significant numbers of faceoffs last year. Even Leo Komarov only took 202. This seems like a tactical change we might see this season for two of the three top lines if possible.
Jake Gardiner on Marleau: "Couldn’t believe how fast he still is. It’s crazy & it’s sneaky fast too. All the sudden he’ll just be flying."— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) September 15, 2017
I have to agree that this setup is interesting:
That’s some fourth line options being looked at there. I remain highly skeptical of Miro Aaltonen, NHL centre, but as always, am willing to be happy to be wrong on this. The job seems taken however, like most of the jobs on the Leafs.
Yesterday, I listened to all the interviews from Thursdays’s media availabilities. The word ‘expectations’ stopped having any meaning, and most of it wasn’t very interesting. I do this for you, so you don’t have to.
You get to see Calle Rosen from today, because it’s our first chance to get to know him and was a lot more interesting:
That’s day one in the bag! If we find out what’s up with Kadri or Polak, we’ll let you know.
And here it is.
Kadri, Zaitsev have inconsequential injuries says Babs on why they weren't full bore today. Polak requested to skate first, scrimmage Sat.— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) September 15, 2017