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From The Branches: Bye Week Draws To A Close

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The Leafs are back tomorrow! Also, Kapanen pines for the NHL, and Ovechkin hits a milestone

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Morning, PPP! Today's the last day of the Maple Leafs' bye week (which was five days, so only a "week" in spirit). Since Lou didn't trade a guy in the middle of the night this time, there isn't a whole lot of news to report. He didn't do that, right? 1am trades make me edgy.

The Marlies played the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last night, losing 2-1. ChristopherHat has your recap, which should be up this morning.

ICYMI

Men and children can buy the NHL All-Star Game jerseys today - Pension Plan Puppets
The Atlantic division will wear that bright gold color.

Maple Leafs post season position: January 11th - Pension Plan Puppets
Bye week are boring

Maple Leafs News

Gacek, Kaskisuo lead Solar Bears past Aces | Don Money
No coach, no problem.

Lou Lamoriello: "What we’re seeing is the growth of an organization" | Maple Leafs Hotstove
Lou Lamoriello joined Prime Time Sports for an in-depth interview with Bob McCown and Damien Cox, touching on Auston Matthews’ All-Star nod, the progress of Mitch Marner, plans for the deadline, the acquisition of Curtis McElhinney, and more.

Kapanen can't watch Maple Leafs, eagerly awaits his NHL chance - Sportsnet.ca
Kasperi Kapanen, an AHL all-star, is rounding out his game and seems ready to be the next youngster given a chance by the Maple Leafs. Until then, though, he's not watching the NHL team.

Unsigned Leafs pick Desrocher loves being overage leader in OHL | Toronto Star
Stephen Desrocher of the Kingston Frontenacs is working toward earning a contract in the crowded Leafs farm system.

Toronto Marlies coming to Port Perry Monday, Jan. 16
Hockey fans will have the opportunity to participate in various activities, watch the Marlies practice and attend a team autograph session.

Marlies Week(s) in Review: December 23 - January 10 | Maple Leafs Hotstove
It’s been a busy post-Christmas stretch for the Toronto Marlies with seven games in 14 days.

News Around the League

Five more concepts the NHL could steal from the NFL - Down Goes Brown
McIndoe has some ideas for other annoying NFL concepts the NHL could foist upon us.

Crosby wins MVP in midseason trophy picks - The Globe and Mail
A mix of past winners and surprising newcomers headline our award selections at the season’s halfway point

Report: Marc Staal Suffering From Post-Concussion Syndrome - Blueshirt Banter
Per Larry Brooks, the reason Marc Staal has been held out of play (with an Alain Vigneault "upper body injury" special) was due to post-concussion syndrome.

Why Sharks defender Mueller was sent to the dressing room early in the first period against the Flames - Fear The Fin
The Sharks had to send one of their defensemen to the dressing room after forgetting to list him on the lineup card.

Taylor Hall returns to find Edmonton changed - The Globe and Mail
After trading the once golden boy to the now lagging Devils, the Oilers have been on an upward climb.

Koekkoek in Syracuse means we need to talk about the Tampa Bay Lightning’s defensive pairings - Raw Charge
On Tuesday, the Lightning reassigned defender Slater Koekkoek to Syracuse, showing that they are struggling to figure out how to best design their defensive pairings.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 1,000th point 35 seconds into Washington's 5-2 win over Pittsburgh.