TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs emerged from Tuesday’s morning skate unsure exactly what the lineup would look like against the Colorado Avalanche later that night.
Jay McClement was absent from Air Canada Centre after his wife went into labour with their first child. The Leafs are already missing three regular forwards and coach Randy Carlyle was hopeful that McClement might be eligible to play against Colorado.
“We don’t really have a choice in the matter one way or the other,” said Carlyle. “If nature takes its course then he should be here for the game without any complications. All we can wish for is that both the mother and expecting child are healthy.”
Jonathan Bernier was expected to get the call in goal for Toronto.
Despite the team’s 3-0 start to the season, the Leafs seemed far from satisfied with their game overall. In particular, they were looking to tighten up defensively and limit the turnovers that were rampant in Saturday’s 5-4 shootout win over Ottawa.
“We have had some problems coming out of our own zone as far as executing passes and then turning over some pucks in the neutral zone,” said forward Joffrey Lupul.
With the Avalanche in town, there was plenty of discussion about new coach Patrick Roy. The Hall of Fame goalie was fined $10,000 following a verbal altercation with Anaheim Ducks counterpart Bruce Boudreau last week, but claimed Tuesday that he hasn’t had trouble keeping his emotions in check overall.
“It’s very easy,” said Roy. “I’m passionate about what I’m doing and I love to win. … I learned a lot from my junior days that you have to control those emotions and it’s been very easy. I’m always going to be really calm when the game is going to be on the line.
“Everything’s going to be calculated.”
The Avalanche have won their last three visits to Air Canada Centre by a combined score of 11-4 … Mason Raymond and Joffrey Lupul lead the Maple Leafs in scoring with four points … Colorado’s Paul Stastny is one point short of 400 for his career … It will be the first NHL game in Canada for No. 1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon … Leafs centre Jay McClement played 104 games with Colorado form 2010-12 … Avs goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere and centre John Mitchell formerly played in Toronto … Mark Fraser (knee), Nikolai Kulemin (ankle) and Frazer McLaren (broken finger) remain on long-term injured reserve for Toronto.
“I don’t think anybody on our hockey club looked at ease last game to tell you the truth. I don’t think we looked very good.” – Carlyle
“Even though we’re 3-0 we don’t feel that we’ve played the game that we’re capable of. We’ve got to pick it up a little bit.” – Lupul.
“I guess playing against (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry the first game. Getzlaf congratulated me and kind of said `Welcome to the NHL’ so that was pretty cool. Honestly, I think it was getting that first win in front of the home fans, they were great that night. It’s a great league to be a part of.” – Avs forward Nathan MacKinnon on when he realized he was in the NHL.