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New Look Lines, A Veteran Returns & More

by Matt Iaboni / Toronto Maple Leafs

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VIDEO: Ron Wilson | Colby Armstrong | Jay Rosehill
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After their rough outing against the Edmonton Oilers, the Maple Leafs returned to practice Friday because as the saying goes, the show must go on.

There were some new line combos including Phil Kessel at centre with Colby Armstrong (more on him later) and Kristopher Versteeg on the wings.

“Phil has volunteered to be a centre,” Ron Wilson said after practice. “He might have some more open ice especially against the Bruins when he goes down the one side running into Zdeno Chara.
Maybe we can get Phil’s feet going”

Colby ArmstrongPhil Kessel – Kristopher Versteeg
Clarke MacArthurMikhail GrabovskiNikolai Kulemin
Fredrik Sjostrom – Tyler Bozak – Tim Brent
Jay RosehillNazem Kadri/John Mitchell – Colton Orr

Wilson continues to search for offence from a team that has scored 51 goals in 24 games and is second last in the NHL averaging 2.12 goals a game.

Many of the drills on Friday involved the Leafs' defencemen joining the rush and also the players battling down low for ugly goals. Leafs' blueliners have contributed a grand total of three goals this season.

“We’re asking our defence to be more involved, get up the ice and be a part of it. A lot of it has to do with them not following the play up, it’s just three guys going forward and we need four or five.”

JAY ROSEHILL CALLED UP - Watch Rosehill's post-practice interview
With the absence of Mike Brown who was the Leafs' best forechecker, Rosehill will look to bring some sandpaper to a club in dire need of it.

“We miss Mike Brown and Rosie (Rosehill) has been playing well with the Marlies, scoring goals, finishing checks and we need a little bit of that,” said Wilson.

COLBY RETURNS - Watch Armstrong's post-practice interview
After a 16-game absence, Colby Armstrong will be back in the lineup against Boston. He is excited to get back into a game.

“Obviously I’m going to go to the net, try and get some ugly goals,” he said.

After missing so much time, don’t be surprised if he has a little trouble keeping up with the pace of the game. It’s something that Armstrong acknowledged he wonders about.

“I was nervous for tomorrow a few days ago,” he said.

Wilson is eager to have the winger back because of what he brings to the lineup.

“It’s going to be a huge addition to have him back,” Wilson noted. “He can forecheck, kill penalties and there is lots of things that he can do and hopefully he can offer a little spark.”

With all the line juggling that took place during Friday’s practice, Kadri will find himself on the fourth line against Boston. It’s not a role that he is entirely used to but he will be playing with two of the Leafs' biggest forwards giving him some more room to operate.

“They’re big bodies and they’re going to make room for me,” Kadri said. “I’m still going to be creative and generate that offence like I was on the top two lines and not too much changes.”

Wilson will also look to take advantage of Kadri’s offensive game by using him a great deal on the power play, an area where his skills can be used effectively.

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