Leafs' MacArthur pumped for Sabres

DAVE HILSON, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:11 PM ET

TORONTO - Forward Clarke MacArthur said before Saturday’s game that it would be sweet to pot one against his former team after the Buffalo Sabres shipped him to the Atlanta Thrashers at the trade deadline last season.

MacArthur, who the Leafs picked up as a free-agent in the summer, spent parts of four seasons in Buffalo and had his best campaign in 2008 when he scored 17 goals.

The agile left-winger is on pace to blow away that number this season. Since coming to the Leafs, MacArthur has scored seven times, tying him for the team lead heading into last night’s contest.

“Yeah, I think (about it) all the time,” MacArthur said when asked if he would like to show the Sabres what they gave up. “Obviously, I would love to get one (Saturday). I just want to go out and work hard … put them on their heels.”

GOAL-ORIENTED

A plus-seven rating isn’t bad, but seven goals would be even better, says Leafs second-line centre Mikhail Grabovski, who has been under fire from the media recently for his lack of goal production.

Grabovski entered play last night without a goal in his past 20 games, going back to last season — and, yes, it’s weighing on him.

“I always feel pressure. When I didn’t score the first game, I put pressure on myself. But if I think too much about that, it’s more pressure. I just believe in myself … If our team wins, I’m happy. If we lose I think maybe it’s because I don’t score.”

Grabovski had 10 goals in 59 games for the Leafs last season.

SIMPLE PLAN

Marlies callup Korbinian Holzer said he planned to take things cautiously in his first game with the Leafs. The German defenceman said he normally jumps into the play when given a chance.

“For my first game, I think I should play more defensively,” said the 22-year-old, who came to the Leafs organization by way of DEG Metro Stars in Dusseldorf and was experiencing his first taste of the NHL last night against the Sabres.

“Most of the time I try to be a bit more two-way, try to be very strong in my own end and if there’s a chance to jump into the offence and create something I take it. But I think for my first game the best thing to do is just keep it as simple as possible in the defensive zone.”

MESSAGE RECEIVED?

Even though Leafs coach Ron Wilson was impressed with the way centre John Mitchell and his wingers, Fredrik Sjostrom and Mike Brown, played in Washington on Wednesday, he says he would like to see the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Mitchell ratchet up the intensity more often.

“That was just one period,” Wilson said of the Washington game.

“It’s like if you go to a Marlies game, you see it 10 times a game up there on the big screen. It’s Brian Burke saying that for the Marlies every game’s a trial. Unfortunately for Mitchy, that’s kind of the approach he has to take with us. When he backs off on the intensity, he can skate he can do a lot of things, but intensity makes the difference in this game.

“Unfortunately to this point in his career, he hasn’t done it enough to be a consistent performer, from my point of view.

“Hopefully the first part of this season, the message is getting through because we haven’t played him very much.”


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