Tuesday, September 18


If you believe The Hockey News' pre-season predictions for Toronto and Edmonton, tonight may be the high-point of their seasons. Unfortunately, we here at HS,HS peaked about two weeks ago, so here's your shoddy preview...


After the usual series of monotonous intra-squad scrimmages, the Oilers got their first look at NHL opposition last night, defeating the Florida Panthers 5-4. Tonight has the feel of another scrimmage as Salmalainen, Kilger and Devereaux return to town, along with Assistant Coach Bryan Muir...wait, defenceman Bryan Muir? Really, Leafs fans?

Much of the intrigue for Oiler fans this pre-season surrounds the young forwards battling for two or three open spots. Sam Gagner, Rob Schremp, and Kyle Brodziak got a look last night (Brodziak all but made the team with his performance), so tonight the spotlight will focus on Andrew Cogliano and Robert Nilsson. 'Cogs' will center a line with Geoff Sanderson and Marc Pouliot, while Nilsson will skate with Stoll and Torres on what could very well be the Oilers' 2nd line to start the season. The Toronto scouting staff will also get a chance to see Anson Carter...he'll look great in a Leafs uniform.

Leafs fans can also look forward to Adam Huxley trying to fight their whole bench, before catching a plane to Stockton (ECHL).

Mathieu Garon will make his debut in net, with Devan Dubnyk getting some action in the last half of the game.


I love it when coaches make guarantees. It's such a pointless display. I know it outwardly displays confidence in your team, but it kinda smells of mediocrity. You're either good enough (and you know it) or you're not. If your team needs that kind of fire lit under its ass, the only thing you can guarantee is that you'll be getting fired when you don't make the playoffs. Besides, in a city like Toronto, isn't that the MINIMUM expectation to start EVERY season? We're not in Hartford anymore, Paul.

The Leafs are in a different position from a lot of NHL teams (especially the Oilers) in that their lineup is pretty much set, save for the stirring battle for the 7th D-man spot, and a couple spots available as the 13th and 14th forwards. Fans will surely have an eye on first round pick Jiri Tlusty, while the Toronto media has been creaming over Simon Gamache, calling him "intriguing," "pleasantly surprising," and a "wild card". I like to call him "a failure at the NHL level everywhere he's been."

Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala are probably the new faces that Leafs fans most want to see (neither will play tonight), but for me it's 'Scott Clemmensen', because I don't think 'Scott Clemmensen' exists. I think 'Scott Clemmensen' is a complete fabrication, invented by Lou Lamoriello in an attempt to circumvent the salary cap. Has anyone ever seen 'Scott Clemmensen' in the last 10 years? You know that final game of the season you so badly needed the Devils to win last year? That was their Director of Communications, Pete Albietz (right) in goal.

So imagine my complete shock when I learned this morning that Justin Pogge will play the entire game in goal tonight. 'Scott Clemmensen'...good one, Lou. Good one.

Prediction :

Leafs: 4 (Wellwood 2, Tucker, Kilger)
Oilers: 3 (Stoll, Torres, Sanderson)

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