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William Nylander hits the ice in Grand Rapids for the Marlies

From Pension Puppets

After a month off due to his concussion and an illness, William Nylander was back and almost looked ready for action.

The Marlies went on a two game road trip to Grand Rapids Michigan this week to face the Griffins. The first game was a school-day game on Wednesday morning with the second going Friday night.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

For the first game there were the now-usual roster adjustments:

Defenceman Justin Holl was back in off of a minor injury, which meant the Marlies have both their right-shooting D back!

The bad news is Kasperi Kapanen isn’t on the trip to Grand Rapids, and has some kind of injury. My impression is it’s not a big concern.

The Griffins came out fully awake at 11:00 am, but the Marlies took a little time to catch up. Once they got going, they just didn’t stop during the first period.

Mark Arcobello opened the scoring by stepping around the D, and casually flipping the puck in on the backhand. Easy peasy. He’s played the least number of games of any guy in the top ten in scoring, by the way.

Arcobello’s a guy who shares though; he won an offensive-zone faceoff and sent it over to Frattin and in the net it went. Arcobello was still in fifth place in scoring after this game, but he’s breathing down the neck of the guy in fourth.

Zach Hyman has been looking good as his winger. He’s fast, works the full game, knows what he’s doing offensively and is in the right place. The same can be said of Frattin; they’ve really stepped up in the absence of higher rated prospects.

The shots were 13-7 Marlies, and they had essentially won the game with a 2-0 lead, they just needed to play out 40 minutes.

In the second period, Connor Brown made it 3-0 after a good stretch of Griffins play. That took the life right out of the Griffins, and the rest of the second was a very chippy period, with two teams who don’t like each other much and officials who couldn’t control the game well.

Shots were flipped 14-7 for the Griffins, and Sparks had a work out.

The third period was all the Garret Sparks show, and he got his third shutout of the season. Good thing he was the man in the net for this one. Antoine Bibeau has been good lately, but this game needed that extra level of flash for some of the saves.

The Marlies have a very bad habit of riding the goalie once they put up a few goals. They took a too much man penalty, a delay of game penalty for flubbing faceoffs on purpose, and while that made a change from the roughing penalties of the second, it was sloppy play.

It took too long for them to figure out how to effectively fill up the neutral zone and stop the Griffins offensive push. But Frattin got one during the very, very early goalie pull by the desperate Griffins, who were working on their second straight scoreless game and just wanted a goal. They didn’t get one.

Shots at the end of the game were 39-23 for the Griffins And the final score was 4-0. You can see all the Marlies goals at the start of this highlight video, and stay around for some Griffins interviews if you like:

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Friday, January 29, 2016

You know who’s back. You know.

Sheldon Keefe and William Nylander talk about his first game back:

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The roster was shuffled some more prior to this game, as teams all over the NHL sent guys down to the AHL over the All-Star break to pinch pennies on two-way contracts. Josh Leivo arrived, mostly so he could play in the All-Star game on the weekend, and to make way for him and Nylander, Éric Faille and Rylan Schwartz were sent back south to the Orlando Solar Bears.

The lineups for this game were the subject of much anticipation. Sheldon Keefe had some decisions to make, and it was one of those nice problems to have, remaking the lineup to hold as many as three of his top players—Nylander, Brown and Leivo.

So far, he’s experimenting with Nylander and Brown together with Nikita Soshnikov on the other wing. With Kasperi Kapanen out for a few days, this was expected to be the top line for Nylander’s first game back.

The final answer for the last away game in January was:

Forwards

Bailey – Arcobello – Hyman
Findlay – Nylander – Brown
Soshnikov – Gauthier – Morin
Leipsic – Rupert – Frattin

Defence

Campbell – Valiev
Loov – Percy
Brennan – Holl

And Antoine Bibeau was in net.

This was an interesting choice for Nylander’s first game. These two teams have a history from last year’s playoffs, and it showed in the first game of the series.

The first period featured a lot of back and forth action, and on one of the earliest plays, Brown stopped to put a bow on the puck and hand it to Nylander so he could get his first shot—bit of a weak flick of the puck toward the net, but the seal was broken, as they say.

The Marlies gave up a couple of turnovers that led to rushes the other way, and their offence was slower paced than it often is. The shots were even for the first half, the Marlies killed one penalty, and were staying in the game courtesy of Bibeau.

In the Marlies first power play of the game, Andy Miele picked the puck off a bad pass in the Griffins zone, and off he went, and in it went for the Griffins—first goal in over two games.

By the end of the period, shots were 16 – 7 for the Griffins and the game looked more like the end of the previous one than the start of it.

The second was largely a repeat of the first, with one big difference. The shots were even for the first half, the game started to slip more and more into the Griffins control, and then Nylander got the puck in the offensive zone, handed it off to Brennan, and the Toronto Marlies defenceman was leading the league in points. Tie game.

Nylander had a shift shortly after where he finally looked like himself, with his very distinctive skating style on full display.

Shots were 29 – 17 Griffins after two.

Five minutes in, Nylander lost the handle on the puck in the neutral zone, and Anthony Mantha took it and whipped behind the net and made it 2-0 Grand Rapids on a neat wrap around.

Toronto was playing just barely well enough to keep up with a team whose top scorers are barely in the top 30 in the league. The Griffins don’t have much up front, and the fact they do as well as they do is a testament to their tighter system.

By this time Seth Griffith (I don’t think this name is a co-incidence) had had a four point night for Providence and taken the AHL points lead again.

The Marlies not very good power play—13th in the league—was not very good, and they were at risk of giving up short handed chances more than once. This is an area they could tighten up on, and they would be in a much better position heading into the playoffs. They’ve given up the most shorthanded goals in the league.

But when you can just keep scoring, maybe you don’t tighten up where you should. Justin Holl made it a tie game again shortly after a nice cycle got started by Arcobello.

And when you can just keep scoring, maybe Bibeau doesn’t need to be quite as good as Sparks. Zach Hyman made it 3-2 on a nice play from Arcobello with less than 2 minutes to play. Bendan Leipsic got the empty net this night, to make it 4-2.

Final shots were 40-28 Griffins. Two straight games of giving up more than 35 shots is not sustainable hockey, but it’s two straight wins.

Nylander was not all the way on his game, but he’ll get there in good time. The Marlies next game is tomorrow at 5pm at home against Binghamton, and Nylander is not expected to play.

Source: William Nylander hits the ice in Grand Rapids for the Marlies

Fighting in the AHL and Drouin watch: Marlies host the Crunch

From Pension Puppets

This was a heck of a night to recap the Marlies game.

Fighting in the AHL

There’s a video many people have watched of AHL player Brian McGrattan getting knocked out in a fight. It’s a tough view for many, and the fans’ behaviour is troubling.

McGrattan has played for a laundry list of teams and last had something like a full season in the NHL in 2013-2014. He signed on to the Anaheim Ducks this year as a free agent and has played 36 games for their AHL team. He has 8 points, a decently legitimate number of shots on goal, and 94 penalty minutes.

There is a perception, partly based in reality, that the AHL has a fight every game. That’s not really true, but it depends on which teams you watch as to how many you see.

This chart is the work of @NHLtoSeatle and you should give a follow if you have any interest at all in NHL expansion or western hockey.

There are, of course fights in the NHL too. There was one last night where Dion Phaneuf took on Brayden Schenn, perhaps confusing him with his brother who is more known for engaging in that sort of thing. Mike Babcock had this to say after:

“I thought the Phaneuf fight was a big deal for us. We got competing and controlling a lot of the game from that point,” said Babcock. “If you have people in your lineup that are capable of looking after themselves, it’s a real positive.

“It just keeps the flies off a little bit. It’s nice to have guys who are capable of looking after your teammates.”

Is it worth it? And who gets to decide? And if we’re worried about the concussion protocols and attitudes in the NHL, then what is happening in the AHL where they are supposed to be following NHL rules?

McGrattan said this after (It has been reported that coach Dallas Eakins sent him home from the road trip.):

Rich Clune is the man known for fighting on the Marlies, and he does; he was involved in the most recent Marlies fight on January 9. Other guys on the team have had fights too. But Clune makes a valid point here. Even he walks away sometimes.

Justin Johnson had the one before Clune’s on January 3, and he’s much more a pure enforcer than Clune. Clune’s usually busy playing with serious, offensively-minded guys. Johnson has 8 games so far with 1 point (anyone can get an assist on the Marlies) and 36 penalty minutes. Johnson was literally signed to be good in the room, it should be remembered.

But if even the low, low fighting Marlies have more than one guy to take on the role of tough guy or adrenaline booster or fly shooer, when will it ever go away on it’s own? Or do we expect guys like McGrattan and John Scott and Johnson to just move down to the ECHL like Eric Neilson did when Scott bounced off the IceCaps roster.

And then we ask what the concussion protocol is there, I suppose.

When discussing the incident with Elliott Friedman, McGrattan talked about the fan reaction.

…as McGrattan said, it looked brutal. There was the injury, and there was the cheering.

“The fans here, they don’t know any better,” was all he said about that.

Maybe it’s time we all did.

Syracuse at Marlies – January 20, 2016

Drouin Watch

Last weekend we played Where in the World is John Scott. This time, it’s Jonathon Drouin’s turn.

Unless you’ve been really out of the loop, you’ve likely heard that the Tampa Bay Lightning sent their talented young forward, Jonathan Drouin to the Syracuse Crunch amidst statements from his agent that he’s unhappy with his usage and wants a trade.

A trade seems almost certain, but Steve Yzerman was not hurrying. As a result, the crunch games are buzzing with scouts, more so than usual. Drouin has 2 goals and 1 assist in 7 games so far and 16 SOG. That’s not Nylander or Arcobello territory for shooting, but it’s not bad.

And then before the game started, the bomb dropped:

And then the countering statement:

So no Drouin for the scouts to watch. I don’t think the Marlies will be unhappy with the scrutiny of all those bored scouts. Watch for our own take on the Marlies UFA players and their trade prospects coming soon.

Lineup Changes

There are some new faces in town!

Defenceman Eric Baier and forward Rylan Schwartz were called up from the Orlando Solar Bears and signed to PTO contracts so they can play. Both have some AHL experience, but if they draw into the lineup, they’ll be making their Marlies debut. Baier is the captain of the Solar Bears, and they are a small squad spread very thin right now without these two and Éric Faille who is already with the Marlies.

Defencemen Stuart Percy and Justin Holl were both injured on the weekend and are unlikely to play.

The Game

The game opened to some furious action. Both of these teams are fast, hard-playing sides that play to win. Kristers Gudlevskis, in net for Syracuse, had to work, making some key saves right away.

Both of the new callups were in the game for the Marlies, and along with Faille and Brett Findlay, that made four Solar Bears in the lineup. None of them looked terribly out of place, but the drop from Marc Arcobello at 1C to Ryan Rupert on the second line was pretty steep.

The up and down action continued for 10 minutes, with the Marlies leading 9-4 in shots on goal. The Marlies took a classic, fairly foolish, holding penalty on a Syracuse rush. Antoine Bibeau dumped a Crunch player in his crease on the delayed call and got away with it, but on the power play itself, he let in a dribbler that did not make him look good at all.

Viktor Loov, on the ice with T.J. Brennan and the Arcobello line, got an opportunity to take a beautiful pass and put it right past Gudlevskis. They looked like they were on the power play.

The goal was Loov’s first of the year, and the pass from Brennan put him on top of the AHL scoring list. It might not last, but he’s a defenceman and he’s leading the league in points. Amazing.

At the end of the period the shots were 14-11 for the Marlies, with a tie game.

The Crunch came out and took over the first half of the second, evened up the shot clock and hemmed the Marlies in. But they took a penalty for roughing.

The Marlies played a great power play with lots of chances, and as it ended, Faille had a very good scoring chance when the penalty killers got stuck on the ice. The Marlies had found their feet again.

The play stayed dead even in the second, and Kasperi Kapanen got all out hearts pumping when he turned on the turbocharger and outskated a Crunch D and made Gudlevskis come out to play the puck. It’s obvious in hindsight–like most things are–that he was really not well at the start of the year.

The Crunch got the go-ahead goal in the last minute of play on a rush by Cameron Darcy, when Bibeau seemed to be expecting a pass.

In the third, the Marlies were getting a little sloppy, and three goals came in a minute an a half. Arcobello got the first on an excellent shot, but two for the Crunch put them up 4-2.

Nikita Soshnikov and Zach Hyman, who were playing with Arcobello and were fantastic all night, got it to 4-3 with a great move by Soshnikov to keep control of the puck and shoot it in for Hyman to get a goal off the rebound.

This top line started to get a lot of icetime in the last few minutes of the game. They had a frantic flurry with Brennan working as the fourth forward, and Gudlevskis was under seige, but he weathered it.

The Marlies were not having a good time of it near the end of the game, and I was resigned to seeing them drop this one, when the Marlies interrupted a Crunch pass, and then Arco! Bello! came over the boards, outskated the D (not quite as fast as Kapanen), took the puck in and no doubt, that was going in. Beautiful game tying goal.

Bibeau made a sort of lazy play on the puck into the corner a few seconds later which the Marlies didn’t clear, and he had to make a couple of very good saves when the Crunch picked it up and got off two good shots. To OT.

OT was short and very sweet, with Brendan Leipsic coming out on the first change obviously ready to dish and dance with the puck. He tried one move, was denied, and then Rupert without a stick behind the net kicked the puck out and Leipsic spun once, shot the puck and in. Game over. Marlies win 5-4. Don’t they always? It seems like they do.

The next games are a weekend afternoon series against Utica. Hopefully, nothing other than hockey occurs, but you never know. Maybe Vancouver will send down a Sedin or something.

Source: Fighting in the AHL and Drouin watch: Marlies host the Crunch

Toronto Marlies: weekend in St. John's

From Pension Puppets

The Marlies went off to St. John’s to face the strange IceCaps, the team that has a very good record against them: 3-1-2 going into this weekend’s games.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

The way Montréal has been bouncing guys up and down to the IceCaps lately, it’s good the team is so conveniently close. They’ve done a lot more than just make the trade which got everyone’s dander up since the last time the Marlies played them.

First they got forward Max Friberg in a deal for their surplus goalie Dustin Tokarski. They sent Jacob de la Rose up to the Habs, and got Daniel Carr and Sven Andrighetto back. Stefan Fournier was traded to Arizona, and they sent one guy down to their ECHL team and released Eric Neilson from a PTO–Neilson was a big penalty minute, non-scoring guy.

The plus/minus on all of that adds up to -1 goalie, -1 forward, and then you add in John Scott and it’s all back to how it was. Neilson barely played, so Scott is very fit for that role. If he ever reports to the team. He did not for Saturday, so instead the IceCaps welcomed Nikita Sherbak, a top draft pick from 2014 who’s been out with an injury. I know who’d I rather have in my lineup.

Meanwhile, Rich Clune is with the Leafs on their road trip, so the Marlies recalled good Orlando Solar Bear’s forward Eric Faille. He had one game with the Marlies so far this year, where his goal led the comeback against the Utica Comets who were up 3-1. The Marlies took that one to OT and ultimately lost.

The rest of the Marlies changes happened before this set of games, but to refresh memories, Connor Brown is still out with and injury, Scott Harrington has been scratched lately and may be injured, Kasperi Kapanen is back, and checking the status of the Marco Yo-Yo: currently with the Marlies.

Toronto Marlies at St. John’s Ice Caps

Saturday, January 16

This game was about one thing: Goals, goals, goals.

Some were gorgeous.

Some were frustrating, like when IceCap’s Charles Hudon, who has a way with the Marlies, ripped the puck right off of Jeremy Morin’s stick while he was fiddling around trying to decide what to do with it, and roared off and tied the game.

Brandon Leipsic’s second goal of the night chased Eddie Pasquale, a goalie the Marlies have a way with, and Zach Fucale took over. Trouble is, the Marlies have a way with him too.

The wheels came off completely for the IceCaps in the second. They started taking penalties by the tonne, and the ref wasn’t interested in playing any even up games. The ref in question is Terry Koharski who the IceCaps play-by-play man Brian Rogers does not care for at all.

The Marlies are not a team that sits quietly on a lead, however. They ended up with a 5-on-3, and just as the IceCaps killed the first penalty and it switched to a 5-on-4, they had a serious short-handed attempt. Antoine Bibeau was up to it, but he wasn’t a brick wall, since he’d already been done for 2 goals.

Leipsic quieted everyone down with the only goal in the second period, it gave him the hat trick, the team a 5-2 lead, and the crowd, evenly split as always between Marlies and IceCap fans, had nothing left to cheer for on either side.

The IceCaps continued to press hard in the third as they had all game, and the final score was 6-3.

At the end of the third, Hudon took a boarding penalty plus an unsportsmanlike like misconduct, and he was frustrated at the game, the officiating, and likely just being on the team when he’d like a chance at the NHL. I think we can all relate to that. He’s 5’10” and around 200 pounds. And I couldn’t help thinking what would have happened if John Scott were out there. He’s the biggest guy in the AHL right now at 260 pounds, and is never on the ice to handle the puck.

Rogers was also frustrated, and he went off a rant about how the IceCaps couldn’t by a frigging thing out there, and that was virtually a Canadian Heritage Moment and a reason why AHL games are so much fun.

T.J. Brennan’s three assists put him ahead of William Nylander for the team scoring lead and within one point of the league lead. Maybe he’s more than just the best defenceman in the AHL?

See Maple Leafs Hot Stove for a more indepth recap.

Toronto Marlies as St. John’s Ice Caps

Sunday, January 17

The day dawned with the news that the meme had landed.

There were rumours he was on the roster or in the lineup, and it was a big buzz or anticipation, but in the end, the IceCaps iced a hockey team. No John Scott today.

More, importantly, Garret Sparks was back in net! It started out as a tight game, with no goals coming in the first period, and the Marlies just barely outshooting the IceCaps. (In the AHL, that always means shots on goal, as that’s all that’s tracked.)

In the second, the troubling trend from Saturday continued with the IceCaps outshooting the Marlies. They had better control of the puck today and the Marlies didn’t.

But the IceCaps have some real defensive failures from time to time, and early in the second they left Soshnikov totally alone in the slot, and you can’t do that. 1-0 Marlies.

The Marlies took a penalty shortly after and chased their tails for most of the PK and paid for it. Tie game.

Less than a minute later and an easy tic-tac-toe goal for Casey Bailey from Brett Findlay who made the play with Faille in the right spot to be the tac. 2-1 Marlies.

The IceCaps got another power play goal, the Marlies PK unable to do anything to prevent it. Tie game again.

The third period was where the heroes got separated from the goats. Problem is, sometimes they’re the same guy!

Lucas Lessio took a penalty for the IceCaps, which is bad, but then Markus Eisenschmid outplayed T.J. Brennan to get his first pro goal. And it was a shorty.

A bit later it was Morgan Ellis from out in the weeds, and it was 4-2 IceCaps and they seemed like they could roll home on that lead.

But the Marlies don’t quit. An excellent rush by Rinat Valiev who made the play possible, led to Arcobello and Morin combining to get it in the net by rushing in and winning the battle for the slot. 4-3 IceCaps.

The hero turned into the goat when Valiev, just trying to move the puck up in front of Sparks, got done by Lessio who snuck up and shoved it off of Valiev’s stick and right past a startled Sparks. 5-3 IceCaps.

The Marlies pulled the goalie really early, and there were two goals: one from T.J. Brennan from a shot from the blueline, and one a few seconds later where the IceCaps put the game away. 6-4 was the final score, and the Marlies got beat by the team that played better.

Too many penalties, too much defensive slack, too much lack of speed against a tough team that had found their cohesion, and the lazy Sunday game went against them.

T.J. Brennan is now tied with the AHL points leaders with 38 points, pending the results of later games.

The Marlies next game is Wednesday against Syracuse. Will Jonathan Drouin appear?

Nylander won’t, but it’s getting closer:

Source: Toronto Marlies: weekend in St. John's

The Toronto Marlies are lucky and good, and beat the Comets in a shootout

From Pension Puppets

Antoine Bibeau in action with the Leafs. – John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Marlies are good enough to win without their star William Nylander, or Josh Leivo. But some other familiar faces are back and helped the team stay perfect in the shootout.

Look Who’s Back!

Also back on the Marlies is the now healthy Garret Sparks, who sat in backup to Antoine Bibeau. This left Ray Emery a healthy scratch, and it will be interesting to watch the Leafs and see how long they keep him on his PTO as insurance against more goalie injuries. And of course, no lineup shuffle would be complete without Mark Arcobello switching teams. With Byron Froese healthy, he’s back on the farm.

The Marlies are a very good team, there is no question of that, and the way they’ve played without a bunch of their top guys has proven it. But if Andrew Campbell having a career year in scoring isn’t enough of a clue that there’s some luck at play, this PDO chart of the AHL should prove it. The Marlies have had very good goaltending, but they also have the highest shooting percentage in the AHL.

This is the creation of Sean Tierney and he’s worth a follow if you’re interested in AHL, NHL or NWHL stats.

Toronto Marlies 3-2 over Utica Comets in a thrilling shootout

The Marlies played a rare low shooting game–for them. The Comets had 37 shots to the Marlies’ 22. They started out well with Arcobello back as the top centre, Kasperi Kapanen back as his winger, and Jeremy Morin filling out the other side. Morin knows Arcobello from the bronze medal winning USA team at the 2015 IIHF World Championships. Arcobello impressed in that event, but Morin, playing down the lineup, did not.

Nikita Soshnikov opened the scoring for the Marlies with an unassisted beauty of a goal where he plucked the puck out of the air and took off with it. The Comets tied it up at the last minute on a power play goal after the Marlies had taken two somewhat foolish penalties in a row.

Ryan Rupert got the lead in the second. He was promoted up to second line centre with Brendan Leipsic and Matt Frattin, and he really stepped up. His 3 shots on goal were second only to Morin’s 4.

Utica tied it up again midway through the third, and the Marlies finally poured on the high-octane offence they are known for. When they are going all out to score, the result is fast and furious and results in the occasional heart in the throat moment as the other team grabs a breakaway or an odd-man rush.

Antoine Bibeau saw more of those than he likely wanted to in his first game since January 3, but he’s been looking at NHL players coming at him in practice while he was sitting in backup for the Leafs; he was very up to this task and was the player of the game for the Marlies.

Overtime didn’t decide it, and the Marlies weren’t fantastic at 3-on-3, but they were flawless in the shootout again. The Utica broadcasters mentioned that the Marlies have not given up a single goal on the shootout all year. The Comets nearly broke that streak on their last try–Bibeau was beat and out of position, but Curtis Valk managed only to put himself in the net, the puck went wide.

Soshnikov had the goal for the Marlies as the first shooter, and he was very good all game as was his centre, Frederik Gautier. The depth is showing itself very well on this team as they move up to fill the void left by the injury to William Nylander and the loss of Josh Leivo to the Leafs.

Kapanen looked fast and full of energy for his first game back, and his line funnelled all their shooting through Jeremy Morin. That’s not a terrible thing to have happen, but if they stick together as a line, I would hope to see more shots from Kapanen and Arcobello. They have a lot of potential as complimentary parts.

Check out Soshnikov’s goal in regulation. It doesn’t quite show him plucking the puck out of the air in the neutral zone, but the goal is lovely on it’s own. Sorry for the quality of the footage.

Source: The Toronto Marlies are lucky and good, and beat the Comets in a shootout

Maple Leafs loan Arcobello, Bibeau and Sparks to Marlies

From Official Toronto Maple Leafs

Monday, 01.11.2016 / 5:00 PM ET / News

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Monday that the team has loaned forward Mark Arcobello as well as goaltenders Antoine Bibeau and Garret Sparks to the Toronto Marlies (AHL).

Arcobello, 27, skated in 11 games with the Maple Leafs this season while also collecting 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 24 games with the Marlies.

Bibeau, 21, has played in 16 games with the Marlies this season, owning an 11-4-0 record with a 3.11 goals against average and a .891 save percentage.

Sparks, 22, posted a 3-1-0 record with a 2.58 goals against average and a .915 save percentage in five games with the Leafs, including a 24-save shutout in his NHL debut against the Edmonton Oilers on November 30. In 11 games with the Marlies this season, Sparks owns an 8-2-0 record with a 1.90 goals against average and a .938 save percentage.

The Maple Leafs and Marlies both return to the ice on Wednesday, when the Leafs host the Columbus Blue Jackets at Air Canada Centre at 7 p.m while the Marlies travel to Utica to face the Comets.

Source: Maple Leafs loan Arcobello, Bibeau and Sparks to Marlies

Maple Leafs at Kings: Thursday game preview

From The Star

Leafs at Kings

Staples Center, Los Angeles

Puck drop: 10:30 p.m.

TV: Sportsnet Ontario

Radio: TSN 1050

Key matchup: Drew Doughty vs. Nazem Kadri. Doughty currently sits third in the league in time on ice per game, logging nearly 28 minutes a night. Kadri, meanwhile, was averaging a career-high 18 minutes-plus heading into Wednesday’s game in Anaheim.

Need to know: Vincent Lecavalier, acquired from Philadelphia on Wednesday is reportedly committed to being a role player in one last run for a Cup. And the Kings, after following up their 2014 Stanley Cup win by missing the playoffs last season, look very much like a title threat again . . . While Leafs coach Mike Babcock told the media that he was unsure about the identity of Thursday’s starter — telling the media it would be either James Reimer or Antoine Bibeau — Reimer said he is ready for action after a long struggle with a groin injury.

Up next: Saturday at San Jose, 7 p.m.

Source: Maple Leafs at Kings: Thursday game preview

Leafs Recall Arcobello, Bibeau From Marlies

Monday, 01.4.2016 / 4:00 PM ET / News

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Monday that the team has recalled goaltender Antoine Bibeau and forward Mark Arcobello from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).

Arcobello, 27, has skated in nine games with the Maple Leafs this season, while also collecting 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 24 games with the Marlies during 2015-16. The Milford, Connecticut native currently ranks 14th in AHL scoring.

Bibeau, 21, has appeared in 16 games with the Marlies this season, posting a record of 11-4-0 along with a 3.11 goals against average and a 0.891 save percentage. The Victoriaville, Quebec native was originally drafted by the Maple Leafs during the 2013 NHL Draft (172nd overall). Bibeau has yet to make his NHL debut.

The Maple Leafs return to the ice on Wednesday night when they travel to California for a 10 p.m. game against the Anaheim Ducks.

Source: Official Leafs News
Leafs Recall Arcobello, Bibeau From Marlies