Ex-Leafs suit up for Wings

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:22 PM ET

DETROIT -- The Maple Leafs' plan to get nasty this season didn't include keeping a pit bull centre named Kris Newbury.

So named by former Leaf enforcer Wade Belak, the 5-foot-10, 205-pound Newbury wasn't in general manager Brian Burke's plan to bulk up the Buds and he landed in the Red Wings' organization this summer. Coach Mike Babcock figured he’d have some extra spark tonight with the Maple Leafs in town and will start him.

“I was with them six years and I will have some friends on the other side,” Newbury said this morning at Joe Louis Arena. “It's an opportunity for me to show them they shouldn’t have let me go. I'll be very excited when the puck drops.”

“They were looking for bigger guys; I knew that when Burke came in and I tried to show them that. Unfortunately, I didn’t play too many games last year.”

Between shoulder problems and a stint with the Marlies, Newbury was in just one early January game against the Senators and played 33 with the AHL Marlies. In 2007-08, he made 28 appearances for the Leafs, getting six points in 44 total games since 2006-07.

“I’m sure they know what I bring to the table. I’m just going to go out there tonight and do my thing.”

Newbury will likely start the year with the Wings’ Grand Rapids farm team.

Tonight’s game, the first of a home-and-home, already has taken on some rough and tumble overtones. Toronto is dressing Jay Rosehill and Andy Rogers, who have 51 pre-season penalty minutes between them.

The Wings already announced ex-Leaf Brad May would be in the lineup just a couple of days after granting him a tryout. General manager Ken Holland is considering some fourth line muscle this year and needs to see what the 37-year-old May can do before the main Wings’ roster goes to Sweden next week and May stays behind to work out with Grand Rapids.

Jonas Gustavsson will get some action for the Leafs, his first in goal in the NHL after a minor heart ailment slowed him at camp. Nazem Kadri and the Frat Pack line of Tyler Bozak, Christan Hanson and Viktor Stalberg also get another shots with three exhibitions remaining for the Leafs.

Henrik Zetterberg of the Wings is close to returning from a groin injury, but won’t play until Sunday against Pittsburgh. Dan Cleary will be back after being slowed by the same condition.

This is the most NHL-ready lineup the Wings (2-3-0) have used in pre-season, with coach Mike Babcock noting that almost every team the Stanley Cup finalists have faced so far have had new players and something to prove.

“We played New York (Rangers) and they were fired up, Burkie’s gone to to Toronto and they’ve made good moves and those kids want to prove themselves. They’ll be organized and they’ll be ready.

“This will be close to our league lineup, but it has never worked in the past; usually the more veterans I’ve dressed, we didn’t quite do it in exhibitions. The last two games we’ve played on the road we’ve been overmatched and under-productive.

“That’s not good enough. We need to play more Red Wing-like hockey tonight.”

TONIGHT'S LINEUPS

TORONTO


Goal

Vesa Toskala
Jonas Gustavsson


Defence

Luke Schenn

Garnet Exelby

Jonas Frogren

Andy Rogers

Francois Beauchemin

Carl Gunnarsson


Forwards

Jiri Tlusty

Lee Stempniak

Wayne Primeau

Christian Hanson

Jason Allison

Jay Rosehill

Nikolai Kulemin

Tyler Bozak

Nazem Kadri

Viktor Stalberg

Rickard Wallin

Mikhail Grabovski

DETROIT


Goal

Chris Osgood

Jimmy Howard


Defence

Nicklas Lidstrom

Brett Lebda

Brad Stuart

Brian Rafalski

Niklas Kronwall

Jonathan Ericsson


Forwards

Justin Abdelkader

Dan Cleary

Pavel Datsyuk

Brad May

Kris Bewbury

Kris Draper

Mattias Ritola

Todd Bertuzzi

Valterri Filppula

Francis Pare

Johan Franzen

Tomas Holmstrom


Photos