Schedule irks Carlyle

- March 19th, 2014

DETROIT — A day of rest in a compacted schedule thanks to the Winter Olympics?
Not a chance.
The Leafs flew home from Detroit late on Tuesday night after a five-game, 10-day trip ended, and in most cases, they would be off on Wednesday.
Instead, the Leafs will play host to Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Air Canada Centre.
“(The) schedule has been very demanding,” Carlyle said. “First time in my career you go out on a 10-day trip and come back and have to play back to back and at home on first game back. I don’t know where that one comes from. That’s scheduling, everybody has their challenges.”
What makes the game on Wednesday a little more odd is that it’s just one of three on a Wednesday at home for the Leafs this season. Thursday home games are a little more common, but a band called Mayday (seriously) has been booked at the ACC for a concert on Thursday.
The Lightning play on Thursday in Ottawa against the Senators anyway.
“At the same time it’s almost nice to get right back in it,” Leafs goalie James Reimer said. “Sometimes when you come off a trip, you have a couple of days off and in your first game, you can be a little complacent. I think this will just feel like another road game. Go home, sleep, and go to the rink.”
The Leafs could move out of a wild-card spot with a win, as they have 80 points, one behind the Lightning, which is third in the Atlantic Division.
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Stamkos has two goals and two assists in six games since returning from a broken leg on March 6.
“He is a big part (of the Lightning),” Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said. “He is a guy who can put the puck in the net, he is very dangerous offensively, and he is guy who competes every night. Plays hard.
“He’s the new captain there and deservedly so.”
In 19 career games against the Leafs, Stamkos has 10 goals and 12 assists and is plus-7.
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Phaneuf took the high road (read: less controversial) on Tuesday night in regard to an incident involving the Red Wings’ David Legwand.
Phaneuf had to briefly leave the game after Legwand tripped him. It appeared Legwand jabbed Phaneuf, who had the wind knocked out of him when he fell awkwardly, in the back of his knee.
“There is no point in talking about it,” Phaneuf said. “It was not a slew foot, actually a stick. Done and over with. Those things happen in a game, I’m not going to sit here and complain about it.”
While Carlyle called out goalie James Reimer after the game, Phaneuf had this to say about his goalie: “I thought Reims made some really big saves for us. We tried to do the best job we could to keep pucks to the outside. We gave up a few chances in the key areas but he made some big saves for us and kept us in the game.”
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The Leafs scored on one of their four power-play chances versus the Wings. They have scored three power-play in their past 32 chances … The Leafs killed off all four Wings power plays. On the trip, they killed off 19 of 22 opportunities … Phil Kessel, who needs a point against Tampa to avoid going pointless in five consecutive games for the first time this season, played nine minutes in the third period against Detroit. In his career versus the Lightning, Kessel has nine goals and 14 assists in 28 games … Jake Gardiner’s thoughts on the Leafs’ five-game trip as a whole? “I would not call it a success. We were thinking three (wins) out of five (games) would have been good. Two of five is okay.”

Categories: Hockey

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1 comment

  1. dave tredrea says:

    Why is the media so soft on Phaneuf? He appears lazy and lacks hockey IQ. He refuses to use his size and weight to his advantage. He will not move a player from the front of his net. He loses every battle in the corner for the puck. He will not dive in front of a shot. He makes bad decisions in pinching. Incapable of covering his man. (one hand on stick)
    And then to top it off…can you believe he went to the dressing room while Ranger was injured, despite the rest of the team AND Tampa staying on the ice checking on the welfare of Ranger. Unbelievable! After sitting in the dressing room alone for 10 minutes, he decided to go see what was going on? Every past Leaf captain would be appalled. Call a spade a spade.

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