What a difference twenty four hours can make, of course it might also have to do with a completely different roster of players. Whatever it was, the Toronto Maple Leafs had a lot more jump and looked very impressive in their 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Here are a few observations on some individual performances.
-Once again, Jay Rosehill was a big contributor with his underrated speed and physical presence. Attacking defenders on the forecheck and leaving no man standing in his wake, Rosey has been one of my favourite Leafs for the past two years, I would love to see him get a 4th line role with the team this year.
–Tyler Bozak is here to stay, the kid is legit. He looks bigger and stronger but unlike Nazem Kadri he still appears to have all of the skills that make him effective, namely, his speed and overall vision on the ice.
–Luca Caputi had a strong game and is starting to show glimpses of the potential that made the Pittsburgh Penguins originally draft Caputi as he notched a goal and an assist and a strong physical presence.
–Phil Kessel was his normal dynamic self and Nik Kulemin appears poised to take another step forward this year in his development.
–Luke Schenn appears to have regained his confidence and showcased an improving level of confidence and poise en route to a very solid game. If Schenn is only our #5 or 6 defenseman the Leafs are in amazing shape on the blue line. Jesse Blacker looked like a major leaguer and will give the Leafs even more headaches when trying to decide the final NHL roster before the season starts.
–Mikael Grabovski has a boatload of skill and talent, if he puts in the work I see a big year for our #2 centre. I expect him to play with Kris Versteeg and possibly Clarke MacArthur or Colby Armstrong and potentially score 25 goals and hopefully net 65 points if he can stay healthy.
-Good to see Mike Komisarek back in action, if he can play a smart and simple game he could be a big time addition to the Leafs backend. If you don’t notice him much, it means he is having a good game, when he tried to over compensate and act like a crazy head hunter is when his game suffers.
All in all a much improved effort with the Leafs showcasing a pretty impressive combo of speed, skill and truculence (I had to say it). When I think of the two different groups the Leafs put on the ice in game one and two I am actually pretty excited to think of assembling the best 4 lines of forwards and top 6 defenseman and turning it into one complete roster, I think the Leafs could surprise a few teams this year regardless of the rest of the preseason, Brian Burke has this team heading in the right direction.