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At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs' Clarkson not concerned by facing Devils

Friday, 11.08.2013 / 1:19 PM

By Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Maple Leafs' Clarkson not concerned by facing Devils

TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson will see some familiar faces Friday when his current team faces his former one, the New Jersey Devils (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS2).

"I have a lot of friends over there and I spent a lot of time with a lot of people I'm close with, but it's another game," Clarkson said. "I'm a part of something new and I've got to move forward. But I don't know, maybe as the game gets closer maybe I'll feel a little different, but it's definitely the difference in warm-up wearing a different jersey than I'm used to."

Clarkson played seven seasons with the Devils, highlighted by a 30-goal season and trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011-12.

Clarkson isn't the only Maple Leafs player dealing with a change. Forward James van Riemsdyk will play center Friday on the team's first line between Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel due to injures to Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland.

"It's a little bit different than playing the wing," van Riemsdyk said. "Obviously you're a little more static playing the wing. You're getting to spots, chipping pucks in. At center you've got to have a little bit better timing and reading the play a little more. It'll be an adjustment but I'm excited for the opportunity."

Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser will play for the first time since injuring his knee in the second game of the season. Like Clarkson, he's facing a familiar opponent.

"I haven't played in a little over a month and it's my former team," said Fraser, who played in New Jersey from 2006-12. "I've got to get back to my routine to just prepare like it's any other game. Fortunately it's not the first time I've faced them since leaving so I'll just be treating it like any other game."

Colton Orr missed the morning skate but Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said his absence was for maintenance.

"He's had some issues ongoing, really since training camp," Carlyle said of Orr. "We felt it would be better suited that he took the morning off. He will be an option for us [Friday], we expect. He's practiced all week and everything was fine. He just felt a little beat up this morning."

If Orr can't play the Maple Leafs likely will have to go with seven defensemen with either John-Michael Liles or Morgan Rielly slotting in.

The Devils had an optional skate that saw forward Jacob Josefson, defenseman Mark Fayne and goalie Cory Schneider as the only players on the ice. Fayne may play for Eric Gelinas, who was banged up in a 3-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

Martin Brodeur earned his 122nd career shutout and 12th against the Flyers on Thursday, but it is expected Schneider will start against the Maple Leafs on Friday.

As for the rest of the lineups, here's what they may look like.

MAPLE LEAFS

Joffrey Lupul - James van Riemsdyk - Phil Kessel

Mason Raymond - Nazem Kadri - David Clarkson

Troy Bodie - Jay McClement - Nikolai Kulemin

Frazer McLaren - Jerred Smithson - Colton Orr

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf

Jake Gardiner - Cody Franson

Mark Fraser - Paul Ranger

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Scratched: Morgan Rielly, John-Michael Liles

Suspended: Carter Ashton

Injured: Tyler Bozak (hamstring), Dave Bolland (ankle tendon)

DEVILS

Dainius Zubrus - Andrei Loktionov - Jaromir Jagr

Mattias Tedenby - Adam Henrique - Michael Ryder

Damien Brunner - Travis Zajac - Steve Bernier

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Cam Janssen

Andy Greene - Peter Harrold

Anton Volchenkov - Marek Zidlicky

Mark Fayne - Adam Larsson

Cory Schneider

Martin Brodeur

Scratched: Jacob Josefson, Eric Gelinas

Injured: Patrik Elias (back), Bryce Salvador (foot), Ryane Clowe (concussion), Jon Merrill (facial lacerations)

Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday