All things being equal: can the Barons stop Kadri, Frattin and D’Amigo?

If the OKC Barons can keep Nazem Kadri (shown here during a stint with the Leafs) under control they will enjoy a huge advantage in their third-round series with the Marlies.

So uncannily alike, the Toronto Marlies and Oklahoma City Barons must feel they are playing themselves as much as each other.

The Barons earned 99 points this season. The Marlies struck for 96.

The Marlies outscored the Bs by four goals, 217-214.

Toronto finished with 175 goals against, one piddly goal fewer than the Barons.

The Barons have won seven of nine playoff ...

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You’ve got to know when to hold them.

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Suppose, just suppose, the Leafs had a line on a goalie.

Not a kid, this guy is 25-years-old. He won 40 of 73 games at a big-time US college. Goalie X succeeded everywhere he played. He would test through the ceiling in emotional intelligence.

Your candidate was a Hobey Baker finalist and played a dozen NHL games without incident. Size isn’t a problem; he is six-foot-two. Did I mention he was the best goalie in the American League this season?

Oh, yes. He’s 7-1 in the post-season with a .944 save percentage.

Ladies and ...

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Here’s to the good ones and the good ones to come.

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There’s a saying in journalism: you don’t pull for the team, you pull for the story.

Sometimes, more often than you think, you pull for the guy.

So it is with former Leaf John Mitchell, whose faceoff win  led to the Rangers game-winning goal in Game 5 of their playoff with Washington.

You’d have to go a long way to find a kinder guy than John Mitchell, a kid from Oakville so universally liked that anyone who so much as walked by him would wish him well.

You might however find one in the ...

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Ulmerstandings: how young are the Marlies?

Twenty-one-year-old Nazem Kadri is a Marlie with 50 games of NHL experience.

Twenty-one-year-old Nazem Kadri is a Marlie with 50 games of NHL experience.

They are an odd group, your Toronto Marlies.

They are young but play like veterans. The Marlies have won five of six American Hockey League playoff games.

Nazem Kadri is 21 years old. He has played 50 NHL games.

Jake Gardiner turns 22 on July 4th. He played 75 Leafs games this season.

Matt Frattin is 24. He played 57 NHL games and has scored 18 goals in 29 Marlie playoff and regular season games.

“We feel a part of something big,” said ...

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Holzer, Scrivens stand out as Marlies even series.

Ben Scrivens stopped 27 of 28 shots as the Marlies downed Abbotsford 5-1 to even their playoff series at a game each.

You’ve probably heard all about the Marlies excellent young defenceman.

His name is Korbinian Holzer.

Oh, you thought I was talking about the other guy.

Last night, and throughout the Marlies five playoff games, the other guy has been Jake Gardiner.

Holzer scored once and set up another with a rocket drive that ricocheted off Abbotsford goalie Danny Taylor. Holzer along with partner Mark Fraser made the Marlies’ end failsafe as the ...

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Rookie season a good one for defenceman Jesse Blacker

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Jesse Blacker, seen here during a Leafs exhibition game, has brought excellent skating and rabid enthusiasm to his first Marlies season.

This is what the playoffs are like.

An upper body injury meant Jesse Blacker hadn’t played since March 31 when he took the ice for Game 1 of the Marlies playoff against the Abbotsford Heat at Ricoh.

Late in the first period the rookie defenceman tried to beat a man near his own blue line.

The puck stayed in, a wild sequence ensued and the Marlies never got the puck back. Another ...

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Nicolas Deschamps rekindling career with Marlies

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Nicolas Deschamps, shown here as a member of the Chicoutimi Saugeneens, was a prolific junior but he fell off the map in the Anaheim organization.

People talk about it all the time.

A change of scenery, a fresh take, a change is as good as a rest.

So it shouldn’t surprise that a player would rekindle his game in fresh colours.

But if you are going to move, you’d best man-up. Something stopped working and for whatever reason, that something was you.

Which brings us neatly to Nicolas Deschamps, a pleasant surprise for the ...

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Jerry D’Amigo enjoying his status as man of the moment.

 

Whether it be with the Marlies or with Team USA, Jerry D'Amigo has shown he can score big goals and deliver a solid all-around game.

Jerry D’Amigo, the owner of five goals in the Marlies three-game sweep of the Rochester Americans, has been on a goalscoring run before.

The first came at the 2010 World Juniors where he scored six goals and added six helpers in half a dozen games for Team USA.

Last season with the Kitchener Rangers D’Amigo scored six goals and added three more assists in seven playoff games.

D’Amigo, ...

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My bet on whether the Leafs will try to acquire Luongo.

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Note: While an employee at MLSE I have absolutely no idea whether the Maple Leafs will pursue Roberto Luongo. This post is a reasonable and hopefully reasoned guess. Anywhoo…

I have this great idea about marriage.

There should be a no-fault window for separation every five years; sort of a renegotiation where you can look at the Missus and say ‘up for another five?’

What the Leafs need to consider about Roberto Luongo is whether they want to be married to him for the rest of his playing life. How long he wants ...

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Pleasure trip lands Percy in the spotlight.

Less than a year after Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke selected him in the first round of the NHL draft, defenceman Stuart Percy is logging big playoff minutes with the Toronto Marlies.

They call it the imposter syndrome.

It afflicts most everyone. The more you think about something the more unreal it feels when you get it.

Which brings us nicely to defenceman Stuart Percy, just 18, and drafted 25th overall by the Maple Leafs last June? A concussion meant a speed bump this season in junior but in 150 games with ...

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