Happy Friday! We start with some recap quotes from the first practice day with lines. Adam Gaudette was the focus of some interest after being lined up with Tavares and Marner, with Keefe verifying there is real intent to try him there. Brigs will have more on this soon.

We can also get to Jake Muzzin, which a lot of you took way out of proportion. I know all summer people have been winding themselves up more and more convincing themselves Muzzin is going to be injured all year or with other ways to get rid of him. The injury he has right now is not related to his past issues, also it’s freaking training camp, there’s no reason to take any risks right now. So let’s put our feet firmly back in reality again, thanks.

The Leafs are almost certainly going to sign Zach Aston-Reese, they just need to wait for some cap space to do it. Theoretically that’ll come on Day 2 of the season after Engvall goes on IR. Engvall’s going to have a hard time of things because ZAR is pretty much taking his job and I think ZAR is a better player.

Some version of these two pairs of lines will be the rosters for Saturday’s doubleheader.

In “also news”, Axel Rindell is dealing with a small injury after an underwhelming prospect tournament.

Here is a Mitch Brown write up on the Leafs prospect system, which comes in at 20th in the league. Lots of forwards to like.

Various Leafs and Branches

‘Didn’t have to overthink this’ - Bedard tops McKenzie’s pre-season draft ranking | TSN, Bob McKenzie

Hockey Canada reveals large chunk of player insurance fees goes to National Equity Fund | CBC, Canadian Press

Sinclair, by the way, is the group that owns FOX/Bally and general right-wing content. The local broadcasting rights in the USA might be getting sold for a second time in recent years. Americans fans are hoping this ends many blackouts. But something tells me if broadcasters can force people into premium subscriptions using blackouts, they’ll keep doing it.

Russian players not welcome in Prague for NHL European tour: Report | The Athletic

This is an overall ban on issuing visas to Russian men entering the country after Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of his forces. It’s been in the news, I don’t think a hockey blogger should try and explain this to you any further.

“The Czech Foreign Ministry has also confirmed it has written to two NHL teams to say Prague would not issue visas to Russian ice hockey players wishing to travel to the Czech capital to take part in the NHL’s Global Series games.”

Sharks GM Mike Grier with sharp words in retort, saying either the players are all going or they are all not. We’ll see what happens here because I’m not sure either can happen because the Global Series between San Jose, Nashville, Colorado, and St. Louis will also take place in Switzerland, Germany, and Finland. There are 10 Russian players that would be affected here, you can find them in my comment in yesterday’s FTB.

I think the main difference between the Leafs goaltending situation and Vegas’ is that Vegas had their two goalies get injured, whereas the Leafs chose the two guys they got.

When asked to comment on hockey culture during a national investigation into widespread sexual assault and misconduct that he himself is potentially implicated in, local man says he is “living the dream,” and is “having a blast everyday.” Local man also challenges world hunger, asserting his mom and team chef make him food everyday.