Game Day Questions: Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens
In addition to detailed game previews, we’ll be posing a set of three key questions for every Toronto Maple Leafs game this season. (What can I say? We love the Leafs.)
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These questions will follow the ups and downs of the season. In this sense, they’ll provide a “running commentary” on the Leafs as they march towards Stanley Cup glory in June.
Below you’ll find our inaugural set of questions.
1) A new season, a new hope: can the Leafs get off on the right foot?
Apr 10, 2014; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers center Nick Bjugstad (27) celebrates his goal against Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Drew MacIntyre (35) with left wing Tomas Fleischmann (14) and defenseman Colby Robak (47) in the third period at BB&T Center. The Panthers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
The Leafs broke out of the gate 4-1 in their first five games last season. We know how the season would ultimately conclude, but it was the hot pace the Leafs set at the start of the campaign that kept them in the playoff race until late March when the wheels finally fell off the bus.
Another hot start this season minus the epic, late-season collapse would help guide the Leafs back to the Promised Land.
(For the record, the Leafs opened the shortened 2012-2013 season 2-3, but they somehow managed to make the playoffs in the end.)
2) Will the new additions to the defence make an instant difference?
Sep 26, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Roman Polak (46) and Buffalo Sabres right wing Drew Stafford (21) fight for position during the second period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
It’s generally accepted that the Leafs’ defence was horrible last season. They were regularly outshot by the opposition and for some critics, this ensured the team’s inevitable collapse. To correct this problem, the Leafs added veteran defender Stephane Robidas in the off-season. He’s here to provide stability and leadership on the blue line.
Toronto also added Roman Polak for some extra muscle. Jake Gardiner, Morgan Rielly and Cody Franson (despite the fact he’s a hit machine) aren’t really seen as “tough” defencemen. It might be hoped by management that Polak will prove the second coming of Mark Fraser circa the 2012-2013 season.
3) Who’s healthy enough to play tonight?
Sep 24, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Troy Bodie (40) takes a shot during the pre game warm up against the Ottawa Senators at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
If any or all of these players can’t play tonight, head coach Randy Carlyle will have his hands full trying to fill the gaps (the good news on this: he won’t have time to jam his hands into his ears – watch for it).
That’s it for our first set of game day questions. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
I can’t wait to get my
game on tonight.
Follow me on Twitter for regular posts about sports (especially the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays), politics and other news topics: @williamefwilson