Hamilton eager to help Maple Leafs
ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
With the status of forward Leo Komarov uncertain on Friday, there’s a chance recent Marlies callup Ryan Hamilton could get the call against the Bruins on Saturday night.
Hamilton was one of four Leafs who skated on Friday afternoon at the MasterCard Centre, working mostly in shooting drills on goaltender Ben Scrivens. The Marlies captain understands that he may have to wait for his opportunity, but is ready for whenever it comes.
“You’re always just kind of preparing to play,” said Hamilton, who was promoted on Thursday but was a healthy scratch in Buffalo. “Obviously it’s a huge game coming up. I’m really excited. And if my opportunity comes, I’ll try to make the most of it.”
Komarov, meanwhile, was being treated for an upper-body injury and his status for Saturday was uncertain.
DON'T RAZ NAZ
Obviously forward Joffrey Lupul enjoyed his first two games as a linemate of centre Nazem Kadri, who is enjoying a breakout year so far for the Leafs. Lupul isn’t surprised at the success the 22-year-old has had and has been impressed with how he handled criticism as a teenager earlier in his career.
“It’s all unfair,” Lupul said of the knocks Kadri had to take. “I don’t think it affected him at all. He’s confident in what he can do. It shows the confidence he has in himself as a hockey player and as a person.
“He didn’t let (the criticism) bother him and he continued his growth.”
After back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday and an important home-and-home vs. the Bruins starting Saturday, the Leafs were given an off day from practice on Friday, though the team reported for meetings and an off-ice workout.
“The biggest thing is about recovery and getting your rest at a time of the year when there is a lot of games in a short period,” Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said. “It was a good day to come in and get a little off-ice and get ready for a big stretch.”
That stretch includes five games in seven nights. The Leafs are in Boston on Monday, then return home for dates against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday and Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.
Former Leafs captain Mats Sundin will be honoured Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame this past November. Sundin would have been honoured back then, of course, but the NHL lockout took some of the shine away from his big weekend. Sundin, the Leafs’ all-time leader in goals and points, will participate in a ceremonial pre-game faceoff prior to the Leafs-Bruins contest ... During their eight-game winning streak over the Leafs, the Bruins have outscored Toronto by a 41-12 count ... An obvious concern for Leafs coach Randy Carlyle is his team’s recent defensive lapses. Toronto has surrendered four goals or more in eight of their past 11 contests.