The Maple Leafs are heading to Sweden! That means several days off this week without much news, though there will probably be some fun from their social media team in that period, probably featuring a lot of William Nylander, hopefully introducing the team to the (in)famous Swedish banana curry pizza. It is reported there will be a final practice here in Toronto this morning before the team leaves.
Both games in Sweden are considered "away" games for the Leafs, so the other teams will have home-ice advantage. This is why the Leafs schedule has no actual games in either Detroit or St. Paul this season, as the required trips to those cities are these games instead held in Stockholm. The schedule for this trip is as follows (all times ET):
2:00 p.m. Friday @ Detroit Red Wings
8:00 a.m. Sunday @ Minnesota Wild
And, yes, that 8:00 a.m. start is correct, so you will have to get up early, but it's also an excuse to crack open a beer on Sunday morning!
The Marlies have been playing on the road for the past three weeks while the Royal Winter Fair took over the Coliseum. The first two weekends were spent in the division with dual weekend games, first against the Belleville Senators, then against the Laval Rocket; the Marlies split both of those with one win and one loss in each city.
This past week the Marlies travelled west to the Central Division. They first faced the Milwaukee Admirals and were trounced 7-3. Martin Jones had the start to that game and held off all shots through the first period, but then let in three in rapid succession in the second period and was replaced by Keith Petruzzelli. The Admirals had Troy Grosenick in net, a 34-year old AHL journeyman who has played for many different teams and doesn't have that great a sv%, so this was not a good outing for the team.
However, all that was turned around on Friday and Saturday with back-to-back wins against the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings affiliates). The Saturday win had some interesting activities with seconds left on the clock.
Yes, our old Leafs friend Zach Aston-Reese is now in the Red Wings organisation and, Zach how dare you continue the altercation!
Two players were standouts through these recent games, the first is Dmitry Ovchinnikov who picked up a hat-trick in the game on Saturday. The 2020 5th round draft pick now has four goals in six games. And look at him go full Phil Kessel with this shot.
The second standout is Denis Hildeby. The giant 6'7 Swedish goalie got the shutout on Saturday. It was his second shutout in a row, last playing in the game the prior weekend in Laval where the Marlies won 5-0. He received some well deserved recognition from the team.
His all-situations SV% is at .950 over the four games he has played so far. I'm excited to see more of him this season. We ranked Hildeby at #23 on our PPP Top 25 Under 25 this past summer, which sounds like a low ranking though he was the second goalie on the list behind only Woll, and we always tend to rank new goalie prospects low, in fact it's rare for them to make the list at all, but still, maybe Hildeby will be one of those we look back on and say he should have been higher. That's up to him now to continue what he has started.
I would also talk about how Robertson has been great for the Marlies, but you all already know that considering he got the call up and is now looking like a permanent fixture on the Leafs.
The Marlies now sit tied for first place in the North Division by points, though they are actually tied for second by points% as the Cleveland Monsters have a game-in-hand.
In any case, it's been a decent start to the season for the Marlies so far. The Marlies are back at the Coliseum next weekend to host the Manitoba Moose for two games, both at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Joseph Woll autograph session? Bring him a brick and he will sign it!
This Connor Bedard guy might actually be pretty good.
Sounds like the Avalanche desperately need a goalie.
A sad passing too young.
Congratulations to the Canadian team who won the Billie Jean King Cup yesterday.
Along with the men who won the most recent Davis Cup in 2022, Canada is now ranked as the #1 nation for tennis in the world.