A whirlwind pre-season tour

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

The 50-plus Maple Leafs roster gets dropped into a high-speed blender tonight.

From the time they meet the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre to a match against Detroit on Oct. 1, they will have played eight exhibitions.

"'I think we'll see a (Leafs) team that is still learning a bunch of systems," head coach Paul Maurice said yesterday. "I will look at the last four games a little differently than the first four."

While the Sabres released tonight's lineup for this evening's game yesterday afternoon, the Leafs were going to wait until this morning before deciding on who suits up and who sits. Maurice and general manager John Ferguson wanted to further assess yesterday's Blue and White game. National Hockey League rules require that at least eight veterans be utilized in pre-season games so patrons aren't short-changed.

"I look at tomorrow's game in terms of health," Maurice said. "I've been looking for a way to get everybody in one game if I can. There are about four players I really want to see. For the rest, it will be one of the next two."

Andrew Peters, who infuriated the playoff-eliminated Leafs with his mock golf swing at the end of last season is scheduled to play for Buffalo.

The Sabres, meanwhile, will be wearing a version of their new blue and gold sweaters tonight -- a nod to the organization's original NHL colours, with their modern logo.

"Everybody is going to have to warm up to them (the new jerseys)," centre Paul Gaustad told the Buffalo News.

"It's tough to change when black and red are the only colours that you're used to."

Forward Tim Connolly will miss the first few weeks of the season with post-concussion syndrome.

Unsigned restricted free- agent defenceman Jeff Jillson is in camp, but won't play.


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