Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Species’ basement
Broadcast/Streaming: CBC, Sportsnet One
Opponent SBNation Site: Broad Street Hockey
Opponent Twitter Account: @GrittyNHL
Ahh, it’s good to be back at work on a Saturday night. Last weekend felt weird. Tonight, Leafs fans will get to witness the return of the Father of the Hanging Mouthguard and Net-Front Savant James van Riemsdyk. There will be a video, some of us will cry, I just hope Gritty joins in on the green mouthguard salute.
For Toronto, JVR was many things. The return for Luke Schenn, Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak’s wingman on a first line that was about the only thing going well for the Leafs in that era, and also one of the Top 100 Leafs from their first century.
27-yr-old James van Riemsdyk, entering 5th season in TOR, on making Leafs top 100 list: "It's the 1st time I’ve ever felt old in my career"— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) October 15, 2016
JVR also scored the franchise’s 20,000th goal in the team’s Century Game back in 2017. There was some controversy as to whether the 20,000 goals included shootout wins, but JVR still got the record regardless.
And in lieu of his return to the city that saw the best years of his career, Reemer reminisced on his time with the Blue and White with a story in the Players’ Tribune. His story of Phillip J was extremely hilarious. I won’t spoil it, but here’s my favourite line from it.
"Give ... me ... the ... rock"— Rasmus Sandin Appreciator (@HardevLad) November 23, 2018
Nothing new here, except Sparks gets the start.
Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Kasperi Kapanen
Andreas Johnsson - Par Lindholm - Connor Brown
Josh Leivo - Frederik Gauthier - Tyler Ennis
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Travis Dermott - Igor Ozhiganov
Garret Sparks - assumed starter
From the last game (Friday vs. NY Rangers).
Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Travis Konecny
Dale Weise - Nolan Patrick - Jakub Vorachek
James van Riemsdyk - Jordan Weal - Wayne Simmonds
Oskar Lindblom - Scott Laughton - Tyrell Goulbourne
Ivan Provorov - Robert Hagg
Shayne Gostisbehere - Christian Folin
Travis Sanheim - Radko Gudas
Calvin Pickard - assumed starter
Former Leaf Calvin Pickard posted a 31-save shutout against the New York Rangers yesterday afternoon, but with Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz the only other healthy goalies (because Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth are injured), Picks gets a chance to play against his partner from last year. Pickard and Sparks have been through a lot together. They were each other’s shoulder when the NHL felt miles away, and they battled each other to a dominant 2018 Calder Cup with the Marlies.
Pickard and Sparks stayed right to the end of warm-ups and gave the fans a bit of a show.— Rasmus Sandin Appreciator (@HardevLad) February 3, 2018
Goalie give-and-go's and point-shot tips are something else
Goaltending has been the story in Philly this year, despite being seventh in shots and Corsi differentials at even strength, the goalies have been giving up the fourth-most goals against per 60 minutes in the league.
We’ll update you if there are any lineup changes, but in the meantime, enjoy sludge day!