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Lettermen Line Intact For Banged-Up Leafs

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Saturday's Video Coach | Newbury | Frogren | Antropov | Sifers

Read the Leafs vs. Senators Game Day Preview

Dominic Moore didn’t mind the sound of it: the Lettermen.

“Not bad, but we haven’t been together long enough to use it much,” he said.

Injuries to Matt Stajan and Jeremy Williams have scuttled the Leafs lineup.

Going into Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators, Leafs’ coach Ron Wilson used Lee Stempniak, Moore and Jason Blake together at practice on Friday. Wilson is an inveterate line shuffler, so things can change on a whim but jeez, there hasn’t been a good name for a Maple Leafs line in these parts line since Wendel Clark, Russ Courtnall and Gary Leeman, all products of Notre Dame College, combined to make the Hound Line.

Stempniak, a Buffalo native, played at Dartmouth. Moore, an Ontario kid, played for the Crimson of Harvard. Blake, a Minnesota native, played at the University of North Dakota.

Hence, the Lettermen. It ties into the 60's rock band, the letter earned for university athletics and the name of a certain talk show host. Before you ask, the Colberts didn’t work.

Blake, Stempniak and Moore are fast skating and offensive with Moore emerging as one of the season’s best stories thanks to solid two-way play. Blake’s offence has shown signs of returning after a desultory 15-goal campaign last year. He has eight goals so far this season. Stempniak is a good-two way player who has notched six goals this year between the Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues.

These diversions come because there is little profit in looking back towards the Maple Leafs’ last a game, a desultory 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

The Leafs will have another go Saturday against the Ottawa Senators who could easily be classified as hated rivals but for the fact that the Maple Leafs are sitting on a streak of four straight post-season series victories and lead them by five points in the current standings. Some rivalry.

What ails both clubs is not difficult to ascertain. The Senators, despite the presence of Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley have scored just 83 goals, a league low. Only the Atlanta Thrashers have surrendered more goals than the Maple Leafs’ 137.

Expect Vesa Toskala to be back in the Leafs net after two games given over to Curtis Joseph.

The Leafs remain shorthanded because of injuries. Williams (shoulder), Stajan (eye), Andre Deveaux (foot) and Mike Van Ryn (concussion) have yet to return to practice. Rookie Luke Schenn is practicing and could be in the lineup Tuesday against Florida.
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