In the AHL, the fans don’t get to excuse a bad game just because the team were playing a back-to-back with the back-up goalie in net. That’s the reality almost every weekend.
Coming into the Marlies Royal Winter Fair road trip, the team was not scoring at a high enough rate to overcome the fact that they play with their back up every night since the injury to Kasimir Kaskisuo. In the last few games, that’s changed. The scores on this trip have been:
- 7-6 Cleveland in a shootout
- 7-6 Belleville in regulation
- 8-2 Marlies over Belleville
The winning game featured Eamon McAdam, who was supposed to be the Growlers starter, in his second appearance for the Marlies and his first start. Jeff Glass, who was signed to be the back up when Calvin Pickard and Curtis McElhinney were claimed on waivers, has been the regular starter for nine games.
Sheldon Keefe had very positive things to say about Timothy Liljegren in this game, and the Leafs defence has been part of the story in their losses so far, so some positivity there is a good sign.
By the way, the issues mentioned between Keefe and the B-Sens’ coach Troy Mann were over the Marlies putting out their best power play unit late in the blowout win after the B-Sens sent out the infamous Patrick Sieloff to do what he does. What he does is not play hockey. Remember: the Senators are a funny tire fire for a lot of reasons, but the fact that they keep the guy who concussed Clarke MacArthur at a practice is one of the un-funny reasons.
Speaking of health: Adam Brooks was not in the game, and Keefe explains at the end of his interview above that he was held out as a precaution due to a heart rate issue. Brooks is to be evaluated in Toronto, but may miss more games. There has been no confirmation of what injury had kept Brooks out prior to this, and he has played in only two games so far.
Also of late, Mason Marchment is scoring up a storm. In the past three games, he has three goals and two assists, but much more interestingly: 14 Shots on Goal.
Since coming back from the Leafs’ press box, Trevor Moore has no points and only three shots on goal.
Someone is almost certainly getting a callup on Monday to join the Leafs on the trip to California. The choices are the same as last time, call up Moore or Marchment and have them miss their big minutes games in the AHL or go with Adam Cracknell, who is a key part of the Marlies as well.
The Marlies play on the road in Laval on Tuesday, and then the next weekend is a three-in-three, all against Belleville (in case we weren’t sick of them yet). The first game is in the B-Sen’s building, with the Saturday and Sunday games back in Toronto. Any player called up would miss one or two games this time.
Meanwhile in Newfoundland, the Growlers are on a tear, winning six games in a row, getting their first ever shutout with Micheal Garteig in net; he was supposed to be their back up. They lead the ECHL standings (sixth place by points percentage), and have some very hot scoring forwards.
The two hottest forwards on the team are Brady Ferguson and Giorgio Estephan, both with nine goals, and 20 and 18 points respectively. Both of these players should be expected to get a look on the Marlies. It might be sooner than expected if injuries and callups dent the depth of the roster.
Expect some roster moves tomorrow as the Leafs fly west, and if we get any more news on Brooks, we’ll pass it along.