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New Leafs on trial in Ottawa

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The warmth is being turned up on the brand new Leafs Wednesday evening in Ottawa.

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As Toronto’s pre-season reaches its midway level with a 3rd exhibition, coach Sheldon Keefe is sitting the three wholesome members of the Core 4 forwards in favour of seeing quite a few different job candidates and giving Petr Mrazek a second sport, this time the total 60 minutes.

The forwards shall be beneath essentially the most scrutiny, younger Nick Robertson up with veterans Alex Kerfoot and Wayne Simmonds, three doable additions on one line, Nikita Gusev, David Kampf and Ondrej Kase, all of their second straight look, and darkish horse Kiril Semyonov changing John Tavares between Michael Bunting and Josh Ho-Sang. Kurtis Gabriel, after his smashing debut on Saturday at residence towards Montreal, shall be with Adam Brooks and Michael Amadio.

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“Each sport is necessary for guys on the bubble, you don’t get lots of alternatives,” Keefe stated. “It is a good one, on the street towards a few of Ottawa’s finest gamers. They’ll play so much in (acquainted) conditions or (unfamiliar) as they’d as call-ups. There’s much more alternatives on energy play and penalty kill tonight. These received’t be there (in video games) for much longer.”

Mrazek did nicely in a interval and a half Monday in Montreal. Whereas it stays to be seen if a tandem with Jack Campbell can work via all 82 video games, the coach sees them as fairly suitable.

“Petr has established himself within the NHL, he has expertise, performed in playoffs and achieved nicely sharing the online, the place he’s been capable of push others,” Keefe stated. “He’s simply received an actual character about him. Between he and Jack, we’ve got two guys who’re assured, comfy and simple going, but critical and aggressive.”

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Mrazek stated he labored with a sports activities psychologist within the Czech Republic on being higher in strain conditions.

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“At first in Detroit (as a rookie) I assumed I didn’t want one, I’d simply cease the puck. However in Carolina (his most up-to-date cease) I reached out to 1. We’re involved each single day, something I would like, I can ask him.”

Kerfoot, who’ll play both left wing or centre, has been largely within the center throughout camp, leaving incoming gamers to struggle for the vacancies left by Zach Hyman and Joe Thornton. He has to stability defending his personal job versus acclimatizing others.

“You wish to make a great impression at camp, however on the similar time we’ve got many new faces and also you wish to be vocal, attain out to them as a lot as you’ll be able to. It’s good having a daily (non-COVID-19) camp.

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“Guys perceive we’ve got a very good group right here and much competing for spots. That’s an space (administration) targeted on, to try to improve our depth. Guys know they’ve to point out up.”

Robertson appeared ahead to taking part in with new linemates.

“They’re full time NHL guys, the (sort) I wish to be with,” stated the 20-year-old. “On this group, I’ve performed with everybody. For me to separate myself, I’ve to try this.

“This shall be like an actual NHL sport for me, like the primary one towards Montreal was the primary for me with followers. I used to be so amazed, it received me into it and I hope it’s the identical factor tonight.”

The second follow group didn’t have William Nylander, the fitting winger getting a time off for “private” causes stated a membership official, not a medical matter. Auston Matthews was in his second straight follow as he ramps up exercise after wrist surgical procedure however left early. He did keep round for first unit energy play follow with Mitch Marner, Tavares, Jason Spezza in Nylander’s place and defenceman Morgan Rielly.

Projected Lineup for tonight

LW C RW

Nick Robertson Alex Kerfoot Wayne Simmonds

Nikita Gusev David Kampf Ondrej Kase

Michael Bunting Kirill SemyonovJosh Ho-Sang

Adam Brooks Michael Amadio Kurtis Gabriel

Defence

Rasmus Sandin Alex Biega

Carl Dahlstrom Travis Dermott

Filip Kral Timothy Liljegren

Aim

Petr Mrazek

Michael Hutchinson

lhornby@postmedia.com

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