September 19, 2011
Liles to make Leafs debut
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Maple Leafs fans will get their first look at new defenceman John-Michael Liles on Monday night.
Liles will make his Leafs debut, likely paired with rookie Jake Gardiner, in the club’s first pre-season game at the Air Canada Centre versus the Ottawa Senators.
“I’d be lying if I said I was not a little bit nervous,” Liles, acquired in a trade from the Colorado Avalanche in June, said after the morning skate. “There are probably going to be a few nerves. That’s how it is. Different team, different environment.”
The Leafs’ top line of Tim Connolly between Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul will not play. Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson will not play for the Senators.
Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson will start and be backed up by Ben Scrivens.
Although defencemen Cody Franson and Mike Komisarek and forward Colton Orr were on the lineup sheet, none of the three were on the ice for the morning skate.
Though the Leafs have eight pre-season games to muck through before their regular-season opener on Oct. 6, for forward Clarke MacArthur, the playoff push starts now.
“We don’t have any excuses this year,” MacArthur said. “You never know what is going to happen year to year. If you don’t come out and communicate, things can go sideways. Had great chemistry last year (with linemates Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin) but it’s a new year and we have to do it all over again.”
Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn will not play, which means he likely will dress on Tuesday night when the Philadelphia Flyers visit. Word out of Philly is that Schenn's younger brother, Brayden Schenn, will play for the Flyers on Tuesday night at the ACC. The two faced each other just once in the Western Hockey League, Luke Schenn told reporters last week.
PROBABLE LEAFS LINES
Left Wing-Centre-Right Wing
Clarke MacArthur-Mikhail Grabovski-Nikolai Kulemin
Dion Phaneuf-Keith Aulie