March 15, 2011
Leafs callup Lashoff 'deserves chance to play'
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Though he’s had a brief taste of the NHL before, defenceman Matt Lashoff feels he’s better prepared for his latest opportunity.
Recalled by the Leafs this week, Lashoff is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday against Carolina and may even see time on the power play.
“I’ve seen the last couple of games live and Matt’s played well,” Leafs coach Ron Wilson said of scouting Lashoff with the Marlies. “We’ve got at least five of the next six on the road and you don’t want to be caught with somebody getting hurt.
“He deserves a chance to play. I think he can add a little pop and play the point on the power play. Our power play hasn’t been scoring consistently enough.”
With the Marlies, Lashoff has scored seven goals and 21 assists in 62 games and is seventh in team scoring. The native of East Greenbush, N.Y. was acquired by the Leafs last summer from Tampa and has played 63 NHL games in his career.
“It definitely was unexpected at this time of the season,” said Lashoff, who credited Marlies coach Dallas Eakins with making him a more complete and responsible player. “I just have to take advantage of this opportunity. We’re starting to get some depth in the organization and I didn’t concentrate on much this season other than getting better.”
With James Reimer starting 13 of the past 14 games and showing some signs of weariness, it is expected that J-S Giguere will get the call Wednesday night in Carolina.
Giguere, who came on after Reimer let in his fifth goal Monday night against Tampa and was given the hook by Wilson, said he’s relishing the challenge of getting another start.
“The last couple of weeks I’ve had a lot of practice so if I’m not ready now, I’ll never be ready,” Giguere said. “There are lots of things you can’t control, but I can control how hard I work and keeping it simple. It’s a while since I’ve played but it’s a welcome challenge.”
Reimer, meanwhile, will likely get the start Thursday in Florida.
The Leafs had a pair of minor penalties in Monday’s 6-2 loss against Tampa but in each case they were coincidental penalties meaning the Lightning never went on the power play all night. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the previous time the Leafs went through an entire game without a shorthanded situation was Feb. 2, 2008 vs. Ottawa ... The morning after breaking a bone in his foot while blocking a shot against the Lightning, Colby Armstrong was back on the ice at the Air Canada Centre. This time it was with the help of crutches to take part in the team photo ... The Leafs arrived in Raleigh, N.C., hours before the Hurricanes in advance of Tuesday’s game as the hosts were facing the Sabres in Buffalo. Obviously Toronto will be hoping to take advantage of a weary Carolina team that is in the tough situation of having 10 of their remaining 13 games as part of back-to-back sets ... Lashoff will wear No. 29 with the Leafs. The previous player to do so was goaltender Joey MacDonald ... While Reimer had a rough night on Monday, he didn’t always have much support in front of him. As a result, the Leafs spent much of Monday’s practice working on defensive zone coverage.