The second day of Maple Leafs training camp brought some new-look lines and a packed house as fans filled the MasterCard Centre for the first of two open practices this week. Fans can come to MCC Tuesday as the practice is open again from 10am-12pm.
“It was nice,” Phil Kessel said on the applause from the crowd at Monday’s practice. “Fans are happy that we are back and they’re excited just like we are to get the season going.”
During his lengthy gathering with the media on Monday head coach Randy Carlyle had very good things to say about rookei Morgan Rielly and what he has seen in his game after the first two days of camp.
“If you watch him pass the puck and move the puck he has NHL passing skills,” Carlyle said. “You see him uptop on the power play and you can tell that is one of his strengths.”
Just like most young players, Carlyle knows the area where Rielly will need to work.
“It is the defensive zone, the gap control those things are different for every junior player coming to an NHL camp,” Carlyle said.
The Leafs 2012 first-round pick is taking his first training camp in stride.
“I have an opportunity here that a lot of other kids don’t get so I”m just trying to make the most of it, improve everyday and hope for the best,” Rielly said.
Although he has been away from his junior team the Moose Jaw Warriors for five weeks he wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
“It’s been a pretty cool ride having a chance to play for Team Canada and now here at a pro camp, you can’t ask for much more,” Rielly said. “I’ve been in a lot of hotel rooms this month but I’m getting used to it.”
The Leafs head coach did go on to praise the 18-year-old who could make the final 23-man roster that must be submitted on Friday in time for Saturday’s NHL opening.
“He’s been a quick study, he’s absorbed a lot in a short period of time,” Carlyle said. “We are looking at having him play some pressure situations and letting the kid play.”
Here is what the Leafs forward lines looked like on day two. There is a good chance these will be different Tuesday.
Phil Kessel-Tyler Bozak-Joffrey Lupul
Clarke MacArthur-Nazem Kadri-Nikoali Kulemin
James van Riemsdyk-Mikhail Grabovski-Tim Connolly
Colton Orr-David Steckel-Keith Aucoin
Ryan Hamilton-Jay McClement-Mike Brown
Leo Komarov-Matthew Lombardi-Matt Frattin
Here is all the player video following today’s practice