Welcome to the very first instalment of Toe Drag Cheddar. I will do my best to dangle some light throughout the season on all the crazy shit that goes on in and around Babsocks’ and the boys.
Buckets off, here we go.
December 19, 2017, has been declared Toronto Maple Leafs day in the 6ix and the team unveiled their bad ass throwbacks for the game vs the Hurricanes. Whoever chose the Hurricanes as the team to play for such a historic game needs to give back their employee card. None the less, the Leafs will rep the historic look for an afternoon tilt with Carolina at the ACC of Scotiabank Investment Gardens, or something like that.
More importantly, this week training camp begins!
Oh, how sweet it is. When is the last time you have been this excited for a season? Was some guy named Mats still around? Probably, eh.
That’s right, training camp is upon us and the expectations for the team’s performance are extremely high. It’s crazy to think, considering only a couple of years ago Phil Kessel was ordering pizza to practice while Peter Horachek still couldn’t draw up a play to save his life. Or the next year having Babsocks rant and rave about how there would be lots of pain coming. Don’t get it wrong, there was some pain, but it was temporary and now the team is getting close to the contender conversations.
The players ‘officially’ show up Thursday for medical reports, who knows if anything exciting will come out of the first day. Phil Kessel once paid a trainer to write down the satisfactory numbers on his report so he didn’t have to do any of the testings. Seems about right doesn’t it, but who cares, the guy snipes.
But enough about Phillup OnTacos as we shine some light on what to look out for at training camp this season:
Where does Patty Marleau fit?
The debate will rave on and the attention will vary depending on the success of Patty and the team as a whole. But let it be known, he belongs with Matthews and Nylander and the trio could be scary good. Sorry, Zach Hyman, you are a good player, but the first line should be made up of great players and the potential Hall of Famer should be on the left side of #34.
Is Travis Dermott ready?
After some seasoning at Ricoh and the ability to battle adversity of injuries, it appears Travis Dermott may be ready for his next jump. Marlies’ Head Coach Sheldon Keefe raves about his skating ability and vision with the puck, which bodes well for a 6th D in the show. Dermott can and hopefully will beat out Martin Marincin for the 6th D spot. Marincin sucks and cost the Leafs two playoff wins. As for Dermott, the 2015 2nd Round pick is penciled in with the big club, let’s hope Babs inks that shit up.
Where does Kasperi Kapanen fit?
The last month of the regular season and the first round matchup vs the Caps was a coming out party for Kapanen. He is hands down the faster skater in the organization and Babcock is the first person to point this out. He brings game changing speed that pushes back defenders and allows for him to build the time and space needed to put the puck in the net. Here’s to hoping he can find a spot on the 4th line with speedster Dominic Moore, these two together could also do some damage short-handed. It would be nice if something from the Phil Kessel trade panned out.
Does JVR finish the year in Blue and White?
Who the fuck knows. Injuries will play a major role in this decision, and also the development of Dermott for that matter. No secret the Leafs have some questions on the back end and a shit ton of forwards, but not many of them possess the size and speed and hands around the net of JVR. His contract demands will either be his meal ticket or his plane ticket…..you choose James.
Will Freddie Andersen go from good to great?
There is a lot of pressure playing tendy in Toronto and Freddie got the taste he needed. His numbers were solid last year but they will need to be even better if the team wants to go deep in the playoffs. Look for Curtis Mac and Kasimir Kaskisuo to battle it out for the backup role in camp. One if not both of these guys will need to be at .500 or better if the Leafs want to make the playoffs again. There can’t be a huge drop off when the second string goes in, so let’s hope someone steps up when Freddie gets a breather.
So as the boys continue to skate informally together and go for their medicals tomorrow, we go bar Mexico and celly hard that hockey is back.
Tell your old lady she can have Saturday nights for another month, after that, good fucking luck.
Thanks for stopping by Leafs Nation, stay saucy, keep your drags toey and finish cheddar.