World Juniors: Nearly Here

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They both claim to want to talk but neither is willing to pick up the phone and call the other. A description that probably captures your first argument with your grade school boyfriend or girlfriend, and also where the NHL and NHLPA currently stand in CBA negotiations. Except with antitrust and labour law mixed in. What fun.

Thankfully we do have the World Juniors starting up tomorrow with Canada’s first exhibition game against Finland at 9 a.m. featuring our guy Morgan Rielly. Rielly’s never really had much of a chance to play for something in the WHL as the extent of his playoff experience with the Warriors is two quick first round exits; if you’re of the belief this is his last season in junior, these World Juniors may be his last chance to play meaningfully competitive hockey at the junior level given Moose Jaw does not claim to be interested in sparing him with a trade to a contender. An exciting time for him, representing his country and shooting for gold, and for all of us enjoying our holiday junior hockey tradition with some highly promising Leaf content on display.

Tyler Biggs, Garret Sparks and Team USA will face off with Tom Nilsson and the Swedish team in their primer at 12:30.

The real games start on Boxing Day at ungodly Russian hours – Canada plays its first two round robin games at 4:30 a.m. I’ll probably be in the PVR-it camp; I’m desperate to watch a collection of future NHL talent, but not wake-up-at-4:30 desperate.

Leafs fans say the darnedest things
Nothing like a good Twitter search to destroy your faith in humanity.

NHL v. NHLPAI
Don’t blame you if you drew the line once the legalese entered the conversation, but if you’re interested Tyler Dellow is the man to follow.

Here’s the World Junior tournament Schedule
Mark your alarm clocks.

Market research company equates lockout to BP oil spill
Should be said the BP oil spill cost 11 lives and horrible damage to marine and wildlife habitats in the Gulf.

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder and editor of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He's published five magazines on the team entitled "The Maple Leafs Annual" with distribution in Chapters and newsstands across the country. He also co-hosts "The Battle of the Atlantic," a weekly show on TSN1200 that covers the Leafs and the NHL in-depth. Alec is a graduate of Trent University and Algonquin College with his diploma in Journalism. In 2014, he was awarded Canada's Best Hockey Blogger honours by Molson Canadian. You can contact him at alec.brownscombe@mapleleafshotstove.com.