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POSTED ON Wednesday, 09.11.2011 / 3:58 PM
By Matt Iaboni - Mapleleafs.com online producer / Mapleleafs.com Blog


After a long discussion behind closed doors, the Maple Leafs hit the ice 25 minutes after the schedulued Noon practice time.

“It was a good talk,” said John-Michael Liles who wouldn’t call it a team meeting.

When the Leafs did start practice, they worked on several puck possession drills, taking the puck forcefully to the net before finishing off with dashes between the bluelines.

“Guys were moving their feet, good battles and it was a solid practice and I thought everyone worked hard,” Liles said.

There was one line change as Joey Crabb was in a maroon sweater with Philippe Dupuis and Mike Brown while David Steckel moved to the third line with Matthew Lombardi and Matt Frattin.

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POSTED ON Monday, 07.11.2011 / 3:43 PM
By Matt Iaboni - Mapleleafs.com online producer / Mapleleafs.com Blog
The Maple Leafs were without Tim Connolly at Monday’s practice. The Leafs forward suffered an upper body injury during Saturday’s game and will be lost from 10 days to two weeks.

“He got hurt during the first penalty kill and left for a bit and felt OK to continue but I got the email yesterday that he is going to be out 10 days to two weeks,” head coach Ron Wilson said.

Tyler Bozak worked at centre at practice with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul and has been at centre for thme parts of the last two seasons. Wilson also said that a call up from the Toronto Marlies is likely.

Luke Schenn will draw back into the lineup Tuesday against Florida.

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2011 / 3:38 PM
By Matt Iaboni - Mapleleafs.com online producer / Mapleleafs.com Blog


Here are a few news and notes from Leafs practice Friday at MasterCard Centre

James Reimer did not take part in the on ice portion of practice. He worked out off the ice with head coach Ron Wilson updating his status after practice.

“I would say he has hit a plateau in his recovery so we decided, the trainers decided to ask him to not go on the ice,” Wilson said.

Wilson also noted the fact Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens have played well is a reason the Leafs are going to wait until Reimer is 100 per cent.

“We’ve got the healthy guys and they are doing the job so we are going to give James plenty of time to recover,” Wilson said. “There is no rush to get him back.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 01.11.2011 / 5:14 PM
By Matt Iaboni - Mapleleafs.com online producer / Mapleleafs.com Blog






The Maple Leafs had a very successful October posting a 7-3-1 record and having the Player of the Month in Phil Kessel. They don’t expect anything less in November.

“That is our plan to match it and even be better,” Ron Wilson said. “Our goal everyday is to get better at every aspect of the game and keep marching forward.”

Kessel had his best career month in October leading the league in goals (10), points (18) and he was tied for first in game winning goals (three).

When he met with the media Tuesday, Kessel was quite modest.

“I couldn’t do it without my linemates,” he said. “Without them I can’t score goals and they give me great passes.”
Tim Connolly, who was brought in to centre Kessel, can only marvel at the things that his winger can do like his winning goal against Pittsburgh last Saturday.

“I certainly wouldn’t have scored on that but he said it was an easy shot,” Connolly said. “I don’t think it’s easy for the rest of us.”

Connolly has only been on a line with Kessel for three games but he knows what makes him such a tough player to stop.

“He has a quick release and he can put it right where he wants to,” Connolly said.

While Kessel’s offensive game has been quite evident, Wilson is pleased with his overall game which is something that is still evolving.

“He is doing things that I haven’t seen him do before like play hard in our zone, get pucks out, get hit hard on the forcheck so I guess I should say I expect him to play the same way in November,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the main thing that he is looking for from Kessel:

“I’m just looking for consistency from him.”

With the month of November now here it is also time for the annual Movember campaign. This year five Maple Leafs, Mike Brown, Jonas Gustavsson, Cody Franson, Colton Orr and Ben Scrivens will be growing a moustache to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer. Wilson posted on his Twitter account that he is planning to also grow a moustache for Movember and he is encouraging his assistant coaches to do the same.

Earlier this season Brown took off his famous handlebar moustache knowing he needed to start fresh Tuesday.

“I shaved it off knowing I was going to grow it back for Movember,” he said. “It’s for a good cause and we will see what happens when the month is over.”

While Brown doesn’t know anyone that has been affected by prostate cancer, he was more than happy to take part in this worthwhile cause.

“It’s easy to do your part to raise awareness and money for charity,” he noted. “It’s something that you can’t pass up. It doesn’t hurt for you to grow a moustache.”

Notes: James Reimer took part in the full practice Tuesday but Wilson said his status remains up in the air: “We will see how he responds and feels. He feels fine today up to this point” … Wilson didn’t say who would start in net in New Jersey Wednesday … Colby Armstrong continues to recover from a left ankle sprain and is at least five to seven weeks away from a return. Following practice, the Leafs announced recalled Joey Crabb and assigned Matt Frattin to the Toronto Marlies.







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POSTED ON Friday, 28.10.2011 / 4:57 PM
By Matt Iaboni - Mapleleafs.com online producer / Mapleleafs.com Blog


The Maple Leafs were back at MasterCard Centre Friday after an eight-day road trip that saw them play four games over that span finishing with a 2-2-0 record.

The full team was on the ice for just 30 minutes with back-to-back games this weekend. Saturday the Leafs host the Pittsburgh Penguins who have won five straight and Sunday they are in Ottawa to face the Senators.

After being on the ice for just 10 minutes Friday, Phil Kessel left the ice but there is no concern for head coach Ron Wilson.

“I expect him to play tomorrow,” Wilson said. “He is a little banged up but the way he is playing he doesn’t really have to practice.”

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 26.10.2011 / 2:30 PM
By Matt Iaboni - Mapleleafs.com online producer / Mapleleafs.com Blog


After having a day off in the Big Apple, the Maple Leafs were back on the ice preparing for the final game of their four-game road trip.
  PROJECTED LINEUP
Forwards
MacArthur Grabovski Kulemin
Lupul Connolly kessel
LOMBARDI BOZAK FRATTIN
DUPUIS STECKEL brown

EXTRAS
ROSEHILL kadri Orr
DEFENCE
GUNNaRsSON PHANEUF
GARDINER SCHENN
LILES KOMISAREK
EXTRA
FRANSON
GOALIES
REIMER
GUSTAVSSON
INJURED
ARMSTRONG

The Leafs will be getting some reinforcements as Tim Connolly is ready to make his Blue and White debut. He has been out of the lineup since falling into the boards during training camp and suffering an upper body injury. He will make his return on a line with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.

Tyler Bozak declared himself fit after practice Wednesday. Bozak took a shot off the foot in the Bruins game and has missed the last two games. He was moved down to the third line with Matt Frattin and Matthew Lombardi.

After exiting the Canadiens game with whiplash, James Reimer will be starting against the Rangers. He sat out the game against the Flyers but after three days of rest he was back on the ice.

With the return of all three players, Ben Scrivens was assigned to the Marlies to make room for Reimer. One more roster move will need to be made to reach the 23 man roster limit. The Leafs are currently one player over.











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POSTED ON Friday, 21.10.2011 / 3:41 PM
By Matt Iaboni - Mapleleafs.com online producer / Mapleleafs.com Blog


The Maple Leafs were given the full day off in Montreal on Friday. It marked the first time in 11 days that the team didn't have a game or practice. The Leafs road trip continues on Saturday at the Bell Centre against the Canadiens (7 pm, CBC, AM640).

Leafs TV was able to catch up with Greg Cronin, Matthew Lombardi, Mike Brown and Mike Komisarek. Check out all the videos below.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 18.10.2011 / 4:59 PM
By Matt Iaboni - Mapleleafs.com online producer / Mapleleafs.com Blog


The Maple Leafs hit the ice at MasterCard Centre Tuesday prior to welcoming the born-again Winnipeg Jets to Air Canada Centre on Wednesday.

It was a light-hearted practice with the team set to begin a four games in six-nights stretch with the matchup with the newest Canadian team.

The increase in game action this week, will likely see Jonas Gustavsson make his 2011-12 regular-season debut either tomorrow night against the Jets or Thursday in Boston. Gustavsson wasn’t sure when he would start but he has done his best to stay sharp.

“You just have to practice hard and do well in practice to get some confidence to go out there and play in a game,” he said.

Gustavsson last played on September 30th in Detroit which was almost three weeks ago.

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POSTED ON Friday, 14.10.2011 / 4:19 PM
By Matt Iaboni - Mapleleafs.com online producer / Mapleleafs.com Blog
After seven days of waiting, the Maple Leafs finally play their third game of the 2011-12 season Saturday when they host the Calgary Flames.

It has been a long week for the players and coaches but the time was well spent working on implementing new systems and also bonding with a three-day trip to Trenton CFB.

“I think it was really good for us to have the time to work on some of the things that we want to be better at,” said captain Dion Phaneuf.

The break in between games wasn’t just long for the players and fans, Ron Wilson is also glad to be back in action Saturday.

“You still want to play games and you can only practice so much,” he said. “We accomplished a lot of things that we had hoped.”

Even though the break early in the schedule is a bonus, starting with Saturday’s game, the Leafs will play five games in the next eight days including three games in four nights.

“It will catch up to us somewhere and it will be a busy stretch for us but we used this week right and we’re ready to go,” Phaneuf said.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 13.10.2011 / 4:33 PM
By Matt Iaboni - Mapleleafs.com online producer / Mapleleafs.com Blog


Injured Leafs forward Tim Connolly won’t be back any time soon. After practice on Thursday, Connolly spoke with the media and said that the injury is no longer day-to-day.

“I don’t know if it’s day-to-day now it might be a little bit longer but I don’t want to speculate,” Connolly said. “Whether it is a week or two weeks before I’m playing I don’t know.”

The Rochester, New York native will continue to skate in order to keep his conditioning up to par but he isn’t sure when he will make his Maple Leafs debut.

“For me personally I have to keep my conditioning up but as far as my upper body I have to give it time to heal,” he said.

Connolly didn’t get into specifics about what type of injury he is suffering from although he did say it wasn’t a neck or head injury, just an upper body injury.

“I know there was some speculation that it was the head or the neck but it’s not that at all I can tell you 100 per cent,” Connolly said.

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