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Tuesday, 26.04.2011 / 12:17 PM / Matt Iaboni's Blog
By Matt Iaboni  - Mapleleafs.com online producer
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Jesse Blacker and his Owen Sound Attack are just one win away from a spot in the OHL Championship following their 3-2 victory over Windsor Monday. Blacker picked up an assist on the eventual winning goal mid-way through the third period. He now has four points in his last four games and he has 12 points in 14 playoff games this season.

Kenny Ryan, another Leafs prospect, was held without a point in the loss for Windsor. Game 5 takes place Wednesday in Owen Sound.

Don't forget to check out the Leafs TV Season In Review. There are interviews with James Reimer, Ron Wilson, Clarke MacArthur and Luke Schenn. Watch it all right here.

Leafs netminder James Reimer is with Team Canada in Slovakia at the 2011 World Hockey Championships. It is his first time playing for his country and he speaks with TSN's Brent Wallace about his new experience. Watch the video here


April 25

There are a couple of Leafs Top 10 lists that you will want to check out. First we have the Leafs Top 10 Hits Of The Season and also Top 10 Goals Of The Season. Later this week, the Leafs Top 10 Saves Of The Season will also be online.

Team Canada played their first exhibition game Sunday in France. Canada had been practicing in Paris for a few days before the tilt against the French as the World Championships start April 29th for Canada in Slovakia against Belarus.

Canada defeated France 3-2 with Chris Stewart of the St. Louis Blues scoring the winning goal late in the third period. Here is a full recap of the game with highlights.

Dion Phaneuf and Luke Schenn were held pointless in the game while James Reimer was the backup to Devan Dubnyk. Phaneuf will be one of four alternate captains for Canada during the month long tournament. More here

In prospects news from the weekend, Jesse Blacker and his Owen Sound Attack have a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4 tonight in Windsor. Blacker has been one of the best players for Owen Sound picking up three points in the series so far. He is sixth among defencemen in playoff scoring with 11 points.

Kenny Ryan hasn't had a great series for the Spitfires. He has just one point and is a minus four in the first three games. For the playoffs, he has 12 points in 16 games.

In the WHL, Brad Ross and the Portland Winterhawks are tied at 1-1 with the Spokane Chiefs with Game 3 Wednesday in Spokane. Ross picked up an assist on the game winning goal for Portland Sunday as they leveled the series. In the playoffs he has six points in nine games.


April 20

The Ontario Hockey League began their Western and Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday. Leafs prospects Jesse Blacker and Kenny Ryan are going head-to-head in the Western final looking to raise the Wayne Gretzky Trophy. The winner will move on to the OHL Championship and a step closer to the Memorial Cup which takes place this year in Mississauga.

In game one on Tuesday, Blacker's Owen Sound Attack crushed Ryan's Windsor Spitfires 8-1. Blacker was held pointless with two penalty minutes. He has recorded eight points in 11 games so far this postseason. Ryan also didn't record a point in the game as he was a minus three. Game two goes Thursday in Windsor.

In the Eastern Conference final, Mississauga defeated Niagara 3-0. If Mississauga were to move on to the OHL Championship, than Owen Sound or Windsor will join the Majors in the Memorial Cup as the host receives an automatic bid.

Here is a great James Reimer, Optimus Reim Youtube video.



April 18

A couple of notes on Monday after a quiet weekend as far the Maple Leafs are concerned. The Leafs released their 2010-11 Season In Review Guide. Here is the link to the guide where you will find stats, bios and plenty more info on the Leafs season.

Last week, Leafs forward Tim Brent was named the winner of TSN's No Guts, No Glory award for his three blocked shots against Carolina back on February 3rd. Here is a link to the video with Brent and his teammates talking about the blocked shots.  Watch the blocked shots again.

In the Ontario Hockey League playoffs, two Leafs prospects are still going strong. Kenny Ryan and the Windsor Spitfires defeated the Saginaw Spirit in six games. Ryan and the Spitfires will now face another Leafs prospect, Jesse Blacker and the Owen Sound Attack in the Western Conference Finals.

Ryan has recorded 11 points in 14 games while Blacker has eight points in 10 games. The series begins Tuesday in Owen Sound.

In the WHL, Brad Ross is the lone Leafs prospect still playing as his Portland Winterhawks are in the Western Conference Finals. Their opponent is yet to be determined. Ross has seen action in seven games with four goals and five points.


April 13

With the World Hockey Championships starting later this month, three more Maple Leafs will be suiting up for their respective countries.

Wednesday, it was confirmed that defenceman Mike Komisarek and forward Mike Brown will be playing for Team USA. Read the press release here to see the other 14 players that were named to the roster.

Carl Gunnarsson will be playing for Team Sweden for the second straight year. Last year, he had one goal and one assist in nine games as Sweden won the Bronze Medal.

The total of Leafs/Marlies who will be playing hockey into early May is now 12.

Belarus: Mikhail Grabovski
Canada: Dion Phaneuf, James Reimer, Luke Schenn
Germany: Korbinian Holzer, Marcel Mueller
Russia: Nikolai Kulemin
Slovakia: Juraj Mikus
Sweden: Carl Gunnarsson
USA: Mike Brown, Jake Gardiner, Mike Komisarek

Mapleleafs.com's Mike Ulmer wrote a good piece on James Reimer today and how he won't change who he is after having a successful rookie season. Reimer also talked about what it was like riding the bus in the ECHL and the sleeping conditions they had to deal with a few times. Read the story here.


April 8

Today could be a big day for Leafs prospect Matt Frattin. The University of North Dakota forward is one of three finalists for the 2011 Hobey Baker award which goes to the NCAA's top college hockey player. Frattin is going up against Boston College junior forward Cam Atkinson and Miami of Ohio's forward Andy Miele.

Earlier this season, Mike Ulmer spoke to Farttin about how he has turned his life around after having his scholarship revoked in August 2009. Read the full story here.

All three Hobey Baker nominees are prolific point producers with Miele leading the NCAA in scoring with 71 points. Atkinson recorded 52 points while Frattin led the nation in scoring with 36 goals.

You can watch the Hobey Baker announcement LIVE on Leafs TV tonight at 7 p.m. Leafs TV's Paul Hendrick is in Minnesota and there will be tons of video later tonight after the winner is revealed.

Yesterday was the Frozen Four semi-finals. Frattin and Andrew MacWilliam, another Leafs prospect playing for the Fighting Sioux went up against Ben Winnett, a forward prospect of the Leafs who plays on the Michigan Wolverines.

Winnett scored the first goal for Michigan as they upset the second seeded Fighting Sioux 2-0. It was North Dakota's first loss in 14 games. Read the full story here and also watch the highlights here.

The title game is taking place on Saturday and it will be on Leafs TV on tape delay at 10 p.m. following Ford Leafs Nation Postgame. Michigan will be up against Minnesota-Duluth.



April 4

UPDATE


The Maple Leafs received more bad news Monday as the New York Rangers stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Boston Bruins 5-3. New York scored three goals in just over four minutes late in the third to get the win. The Rangers now have 91 points and are out of reach for the Leafs who can only get 90 points if they will all three games.

Toronto's tragic number is now one. Either a point lost by the Leafs or a single point from Buffalo in their final three games will eliminate the Leafs from postseason play. The Leafs will need to go 3-0 and hope Buffalo goes 0-3. The two teams would be tied in regulation/overtime wins with the Leafs winning the head-to-head tiebreaker seven points to six. Here are the updated Conference standings after Monday's game.




Following an off day on Sunday, the Maple Leafs returned to practice at MasterCard Centre on Monday. It is hard to believe but there are just three regular season games left in the 2010-11 season.

After Sunday's results the Leafs stood five points behind the New York Rangers who are hosting the Boston Bruins tonight. A Rangers win would put them out of reach of the Leafs but it wouldn't eliminate Toronto. Here is an update of the playoff scenarios.

The Leafs have won six of seven games and are 18-7-5 since February 1st but they haven't been able to gain ground on the teams in front of them. Toronto will need to win their final three games to get to 90 points and it might not be enough. Last season, Montreal and Philadelphia finished with 88 points which tied them for seventh and eighth in the Eastern Conference standings.

Mike Ulmer says that the dream for many Leafs fans is for the final game of the season next Saturday against the Canadiens to be the game that gets the Leafs into the playoffs. You can read the full story right here.

Here is all of the post practice video. There are interviews with Ron Wilson, James Reimer, Luke Schenn, Nazem Kadri and Clarke MacArthur.

Ron Wilson

James Reimer


Luke Schenn


Clarke MacArthur


Nazem Kadri



April 1

The Maple Leafs were in Ottawa Friday as they face the Senators Saturday for the final time this season. The Leafs held a light practice after arriving in the Nation's Captial early in the morning.

It was a big day for James Reimer as he was named the NHL's Top Rookie for the month of March. He had tremendous numbers going 9-4-1 with one shutout, a 2.87 GAA and .913 SV%. You can read the full press release right here.

Reimer has been great on the road as he is 13-4-1 with one shutout. He has picked up 13 of the Leafs 18 road wins on the season. In third periods he has been very good allowing only just 18 goals, the fewest of any period.

Earlier on Friday, Reimer was on NHL Live. You can listen to the full interview here.

The Leafs released their latest prospect report and you take a look at it here. Nine of the Leafs 10 prospects who play in the Canadian Hockey League saw their teams make the playoffs.

College senior Matt Frattin continues to put up big numbers with North Dakota. He is one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award and he was named Player Of The Year by the College Hockey News.

Following practice, Ron Wilson spoke to the media about his young goalie and how he is mentally strong and has a great ability to bounce back after allowing a bad goal. He also spoke about Joffrey Lupul, the final four games and Luke Schenn.

Wilson


James Reimer talked to the media about winning the rookie of the month award, if he can believe how far he has come since his first NHL start on January 1st.

Reimer


Luke Schenn gave his thoughts on James Reimer, Boston's Brad Marchand making a golf swinging motion as he past the Leafs bench and Schenn's text to Tomas Kaberle.

Schenn
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