Preseason is officially over. The Leafs won their final game last night 5-1 against the Red Wings with a roster that mostly looked like what we will see on opening night.
Speaking of opening night, the Leafs start this season on the road against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET (expect puck drop to be more like 7:20 knowing how they love their pre-game ceremonies.) The Leafs home-opener game is the following night, hosting the Washington Capitals. Note, that game has been assigned to TSN, so I believe it will actually be blacked-out in most of Ontario (unless you pay for TSN4 or TSN streaming), which is a shame, unless they make a special exception because it’s the home-opener, but I haven’t heard anything about that yet. The first Hockey Night in Canada game is against the Ottawa Senators in Toronto on Saturday.
So that’s three Leafs games this week! Get ready for a long hockey season to begin.
The next step is finalising the roster, which has to be done by tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. ET, just in time for the first NHL games on Tuesday—only the Conference Finalists were invited to play that night—and then every other team on Wednesday.
Here’s some more details on how these opening days will work:
The Leafs have already started to put some players on waivers, but the final group is still to be selected. Much depends on the health of John Tavares, who was injured in a preseason game just under two weeks ago that had an estimated “three week recovery.” If he is actually good to go for Wednesday, the Leafs will have a very tight group of only 20 players in a salary cap compliant roster, which means the chances of someone like Nick Robertson making the roster drop to almost zero. However, if Tavares needs significantly more time, and he starts the season on injured reserve, that opens the possibility of running with a larger roster, at least until Tavares comes back, and in that scenario Robertson likely makes the team.
There’s a lot to be decided in the next 48 hours.
We’ll also learn at 2:00 p.m. today if any of the two players the Leafs put on waivers yesterday will be claimed by another team, something which seems to happen every season. The two waiting to learn their fates are Joey Anderson and Mac Hollowell; both could probably fit on an NHL roster somewhere in the league with a team that needs bodies paid low salaries to cover off unexpected injuries.
Do you have what it takes to be a small part of the crazy Toronto hockey media market, and you can also handle hordes of kittens? If so, check this out:
As hockey season begins in Toronto, baseball season comes to a rocky end. You can check out the hot takes from the flock at Bluebird Banter here (and they are very hot takes on that debacle of a game):
And speaking of things ending, someone tried to sneak out from Hockey Canada with a late night holiday weekend announcement that is still dripping with passive-agressive entitlement.
Andrea Skinner statement:— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) October 9, 2022
“…Upon reflection, it is clear to me from recent events that it no longer makes sense for me to continue to volunteer my time as Interim Chair or as a Director of the organization…”
Someone check if the lights are still on!