Noon Mashup: Reimer-less Leafs to christen newish MSG


Photo: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters

Happy Lunch Hour!

The Leafs find themselves in New York City this evening to take on the Rangers and open the renovated Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist is doing  his usual miracle-working and tonight is the Rangers home opener, so they will be highly motivated and will present the Leafs with a tough test. Despite their loss to the Flyers on Monday, the Leafs didn’t play poorly, and with a few days off they should have some good jump out there tonight, and they’ll probably need it against a fired up Rangers team.

The centre position should be improved tonight with Connolly and Bozak expected to draw into the lineup. If Connolly does in fact suit up, it will be interesting to see how long Ron Wilson gives him with Kessel and Lupul before he invokes his classic line-blending to try and create more offence if he sees fit. A lot of buzz has been generated by the blazing start of Joe Colborne in the AHL, and with the logjam of centres on this Leafs team it seems as though some decisions will have to be made if he keeps up his incredible pace.

The other question mark in tonight’s lineup is who starts in goal? I’ve seen some intimations that Reimer will be back between the pipes tonight, but as I write this TSN Radio 1050am’s Jonas Sigel says Reimer is not on the ice for practice, and that Ben Scrivens remains with the big club. Firstly, hopefully this is precautionary and doesn’t mean Reimer’s injury is more serious than first anticipated. Secondly, after Gustavsson’s last performance against the Flyers, he could do himself a world of good by coming up with another solid outing. A win against his Swedish teammate in Lundqvist would also do wonders for his confidence. Not to mention that his final start last season was a 7-0 loss to the Rangers at MSG. More playing time may be the remedy for Gustavsson, so if he does start it’s not all together a bad idea.

I find it interesting that HBO is starting to film for the upcoming 24/7 Rangers/Flyers at the newly renovated Madison Square Gardens and the Leafs happen to be in town. If I recall correctly, the Leafs were also featured as the visiting team at Pittsburgh in the first episode of last year’s 24/7. Hopefully the Leafs can pull out a win so that we can enjoy watching the Leafs win again when the first episode airs later on. Maybe they’ll frustrate Tortorella into an expletive-filled speech between periods.

Here are your links for some lunch-time reading:

Mirtle at the Globe and Mail has an article about how the Rangers will be fired up for tonight’s game

VLM has an article today about how trade rumours keep things interesting

Steve Burtch has an article up at PPP about Joe Colborne has an interview with John-Michael Liles

The Goalie Guild defends Jonas Gustavsson from the wrath of Leafs fans