Summers Over – Let The Games Begin


As we settle down for the winter and get our TV warmed up……………are you kidding me, it’s almost 100 degrees F outside today and it’s September 10th…..what the heck are we thinking, is it actually hockey season out there!

Well my friends it is and the NHL camps are about to be opening up now that the rookie camps have been (dis)-played for the past week or so in various towns and cities across North America. Some great prospects all around,and some have been invited to the main camps to show their stuff along with the ‘Big Boys’.

I keep getting these news flashes across my bumbleberry stating which team is starting camp and how many invites are to show up. I have noticed the amount of rookies that will be attending (Montreal has 23?) and I wonder, is there going to be so much change in the line ups across the league? It looks like there could be some drastic changes for some teams while the higher end clubs seem to be standing pat and maybe adding a couple guys here or there.

Since I’m a fan of the Leafs (insert joke here ok!) I just received the ‘beep’ on my cell indicating that the Leafs will be having 59 players attending. Where the heck are they going to put all these boys, oh ya they might be minus two, since Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson haven’t signed yet (they still have 24 hours) but don’t be looking for them to soon as what we all hear, they are both far a part in dollars.

We also have to welcome two new boys to Leaf Nation, that being Mimico’s very own, David Clarkson and David Bolland. What these guys will bring you is experience, leadership and the will to win. Nothing like suiting up for your home town team in which you grew up watching on Hockey Night In Canada every Saturday night. These boys will be primed once the season opener comes October 1st and even more so for the Home opener on the 5th.

But diving into the Leafs team for this season ahead, we must look at some of the other changes that GM Nonis and his assistant lieutenants have been up to, as we already know this team will be a bit different then last years club.


In: Dave Bolland, David Clarkson, Mason Raymond


In: Paul Ranger, Morgan Rielly (still available for junior)


In: Jonathan Bernier, Drew MacIntyre

What intrigues me most about this years camp is several things. For one did they loose to much speed up front? and two, how is going to pan out in the nets?

Let’s look at the number one question, the speed factor. Not bringing back Grabovski might hurt the ‘Buds’ on the speed dial but with some of the new boys and keeping Lupul healthy will be helpful. As long as Kadri does get signed then the number two centre role is #43′s for his to lose.

Not that Clarkson and Bolland are slow, which they are not but that isn’t what they were brought in for. Their style is going to the net, crashing ‘n banging their way to get some goals. Also with Bolland you have a third line centre who thrives in the role of the ‘shutdown’ guy and the opportunist role if needed.

Now for the number two question and the answer we all been waiting for, well just ask Coach Carlyle and he will tell you like it is. He was asked this question about his two young ‘tenders of the twine’ as to who would be the starter and how he was going to handle it? He comments were the usual Coach Carlyle’s style, ‘ If you win, your in!’ Well you can’t get much simpler then that can you?

So now we go through the next two and half weeks of exhibition games and weed through the players that can perform to the one’s who just don’t have right now and then start up what a lot of folks think will be a season that the Toronto Maple Leafs finally make justice to what they did last season, all for one being a shorten season.

We will go into a full season, 82 games of up’s and downs, injuries will occur and some trades might be made but the one common denominator is this, everyone starts at zero and anyone can win the ultimate trophy, the Lord Stanley Cup!

Let the games begin!!

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