MacArthur won't hold back in first game
DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency
|Clarke MacArthur should add some offence to the lineup when he and his teammates face off against Jerome Iginla and the Calgary Flames (1-2) on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre. (DAVE THOMAS/QMI Agency)
So much for Clarke MacArthur being wary in his first game of the season.
The Maple Leafs forward says he doesn’t plan to hold back any in his return from a three-game suspension handed out to him by league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for an illegal hit to the head on Justin Abdelkader in a pre-season game in Detroit on Sept. 30.
“I’ll try and get a hit on my first shift,” said MacArthur, who missed Toronto’s first two games of the season and one pre-season contest due to the ban.
MacArthur should add some offence to the lineup when he and his teammates face off against Jerome Iginla and the Calgary Flames (1-2) on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre. MacArthur, who ranked first in assists (41), second in points (62), and tied for third in power play goals on the Leafs last season, will be reunited with centre Mikhail Grabovski and winger Nikolai Kulemin, Toronto’s most productive unit last year.
“I just want to go out and work hard and shake the cobwebs out,” MacArthur said after the Leafs’ morning skate on Saturday.
The scrappy forward won’t be the only rusty Leaf. Toronto hasn’t seen game action since last Saturday, a 6-5 victory over the Ottawa Senators. It’s only the second time since 1956 that the Leafs have had such a lengthy layoff.
Joining MacArthur as a new face in the lineup is disgruntled defenceman Cody Franson, who was acquired from the Nashville Predators in the off-season. Franson openly complained about not being included in Toronto’s starting lineup for the first two games. Coach Ron Wilson responded by saying he’s putting Franson in tonight and the rest is up to the former Predator.
“It’s exciting, I’ve been looking forward to this night for a long time so I’m excited to get in the lineup,” the 6-foot-5, 213-pound Franson said. “I get a chance to go in and showcase myself a little bit and hopefully have a good game, and make it tough on them to take me out.”
MacArthur’s return means Matt Frattin will be knocked down to the third line with Matthew Lombardi and Colby Armstrong, while Franson knocks speedy rookie Jake Gardiner off the blue line.
It’s the first meeting between the two teams this season. Calgary outscored the Leafs 7-3 last season en route to posting a 2-0 record. Mikka Kiprusoff has a 6-1 record against the Leafs in his nine starts and a .912 save percentage.
James Reimer (2-0, 2.50 GAA) once again gets the start for the Leafs.