WINNIPEG -- About 19,000 fans get to test the new million-dollar dehumidifying system at the Air Canada Centre tonight, while 20 players continue the task of solidifying the roster.
This evening's game against the Phoenix Coyotes is the third exhibition for the Leafs, with coach Paul Maurice targeting Saturday's game in Boston as the last audition before making serious roster decisions. Four exhibitions remain after that.
"Following Boston, I'd say everyone left will get two games and the bubble boys might get three out of four," Maurice said.
Last night saw forwards Simon Gamache, Ben Ondrus and Chad Kilger used for the second consecutive game, but it's likely Kilger was put in because Boyd Devereaux was back in Toronto with a foot injury. Ondrus and Gamache are two players who might see a majority of action this month, just as Maurice played centre Matt Stajan and defencemen Andy Wozniewski in every exhibition in 2006 to ensure they were viable candidates for regular duty. But Wozniewski separated his shoulder, while Stajan went to play all 82 regular season games.
The Leafs move into a renovated dressing room at the ACC this evening as well.
OVER THE TOP
Among the game's nuances that must be worked on in camp is shift changes. Defencemen Bryan McCabe went on the ice Tuesday in Edmonton, then realized the other pairing was not coming off. Before the Leafs were called for too many men, McCabe scrambled back and charged over the boards as if storming the trenches in France. He landed length-wise and flattened Carlo Colaiacovo in the process.
"A bunch of guys caught me and held me up or I would have suffocated Carlo," McCabe said. "But that was our first game in five months."