The Leafs

By Jason Sutcliffe

The new look Toronto Maple Leafs will take to the ice at the ACC tonight for their home opener against the Ottawa Senator’s. The battle of Ontario is one of the best rivalries in hockey and is sure to be a hard-fought game. The Leafs have started off the season very well, but the Senators led by goaltender Craig Anderson will be a good test, and tell us a lot about the depth of our team.

With Clarkson sitting out his ten game suspension and Fraser injured for approximately ten games, The Senators will test our depth as both players are key pieces to the puzzle.
The upside is that we will get our first glimpse of highly touted prospect Morgan Reilly in regular season action. Reilly skated with the Leafs in practice and was paired up with Jake Gardiner, but Carlyle has said he is unsure who Reilly will be paired with come game time.

It is going to be interesting to see how Rielly handles the pressure of playing his first NHL game in the middle of the Hockey Universe. There are very high expectations for Reilly, and his skill set is certainly deserving of those expectations. There is going to be an adjustment period for sure, and he will need to adapt. Personally I think his skill set is suited for the fast paced game, and we should get a glimpse of that tonight.

Reimer and Bernier are both fighting tooth and nail for the starting position, and it is unclear as of yet who will get the nod the home opener, but I have to think that it is Reimer’s job to lose. It is a good time to be a Leaf fan with two highly skilled and reliable goaltenders between the pipes.

It is a new look in Ottawa this season as for the first time in ten years the “C” will not be worn by Daniel Alfredsson; instead the reigns have been handed to number 19 Jason Spezza. Spezza was groomed for this role right from his draft day. I am curious to see how they respond to a new leader as I am a firm believer that attitude reflects leadership.

Normally the loss of a guy with the offensive ability of Daniel Alfredsson would crush a team, but the addition of Bobby Ryan from Anaheim I believe makes them stronger. This is going to be a good, competitive hockey game, and I am looking forward to these divisional rivals bumping heads all season long.

The Senators have a lot of good, young talent, right from the net out, but I believe the Leafs are the stronger team. The Leafs have the depth that Ottawa does not have. We have three solid lines that can score goals, and a lot of young talent on the blue line.

Also, with so much depth it gives Carlyle more options. He can throw many different looks at teams if things are not working out. Having those options readily available makes coaching a lot easier.

The ACC will be rocking tonight, the boys will be ready, and Rielly will make his debut on the biggest stage in the hockey world. I can’t think of a better home opener than the battle of Ontario. Tonight is going to be a great game.

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