The weather is cooling. The sun is setting earlier. Even a few leaves are starting to turn. That can only mean one thing: hockey is close. After a somewhat turbulent offseason, filled with several departures and arrivals, countless (and repetitive) interviews, and plenty of over-analysis, the pre-pre-season of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey is upon us. The Leafs rookie crop will play in the 2010 NHL Rookie Tournament at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario beginning tonight. Pittsburgh, Ottawa, and Chicago will also be represented in the 4 team, round-robin style event.

The Leafs schedule is as follows:

Chicago vs Toronto - 7PM - Saturday, September 11th

Toronto vs Pittsburgh - 7PM - Sunday, September 12th

Toronto vs Ottawa - 7PM - Tuesday, September 14th

All games should be available on

Some players to keep an eye on during the tourney and your Saturday links after the jump.

Players to watch:

Eric Tangradi - Pittsburgh - LW

Dustin Jeffrey - Pittsburgh - LW

Simon Despres - Pittsburgh - D

Jared Cowan - Ottawa - D (you know, for a laugh)

Patrick Wiercioch - Ottawa - D

Bobby Butler - Ottawa - RW

Jeremy Morin - Chicago - C

Kyle Beach - Chicago - LW

Shawn Lalonde - Chicago - D

Chris DiDomenico - Chicago - C (6:00 pm update - availability in question)

Nazem Kadri - Toronto - C

Jerry D'Amigo - Toronto - LW

Keith Aulie - Toronto - D

Korbinian Holzer - Toronto - D

Jussi Rynnas - Toronto - G

And now your Saturday links:

Dear son, welcome to life as a Leafs fan


Weekend Stir-Up: Give Tomas Kaberle a Break Already

MSU wants a respite for Tomas

And that's all I had as of 12:30 am.  If you added late or for some reason my reader didn't catch it, throw it in the comments.