The Leafs had their morning skate to get set for tonight's matchup with the Flames on Tuesday. Here's a sampling of what they had to say afterwards...
Dion Phaneuf on if facing the Flames is more special:
For me it's always special to remember the time I had there. It's where I started my NHL career so for me it will always have a special place and mean something to me. Any time you play a former team there's definitely something special there. It's different, it really is a different team since I was there... There has been lots of turnover so it's definitely a new group we're playing against.
David Clarkson on the work ethic of his line:
We've been working hard and it's going to be game-to-game to how things go. We've been doing good things. It starts in our end and it starts in their end. Making sure we have a guy high, winning our battles down low, we've been doing that lately and we've got to continue to do it to be successful as a team and a line. I think things have been going in the right direction and we've got to keep them going that way.
Randy Carlyle on the Flames:
What we try to do is we try to have a template that we create on taking the information the video supplies us. Obviously you have to look at what teams are doing first on special teams so we take that. Then you take a look at their forecheck, you take a look at their neutral ice, you take a look at their defensive zone coverage. There's a checklist that you go through. When you look at the Calgary Flames, energy is one thing that's front and centre. They have young guys that are playing at a high level. Their work ethic, their forecheck is very noticeable, their backside pressure, their defencemen that are on the ice seem to have the mentality that they have the green light to join the rush — they do a lot of surfing in the offensive blueline. They've got three defencemen in the top 15 in scoring for defencemen in Giordano, Brodie and Wideman. Then you throw Russell into the mix and they're a very mobile and a very offensively talented group on the back end. There's a lot to handle but, again, we're going to respect the Calgary Flames, what they've accomplished and what they've accomplished so far as they've taken the attitude that it's them against the world. Nobody counted them to be where they're at. They've earned it and you can't take it away from them. They went out and earned it.
Leafs defenceman Korbinian Holzer offered his thoughts on his play to this point since his recall. Here's what he had to say...
On his assertiveness on the ice being a byproduct of confidence:
Yeah, that's one reason and I think I'm a little more mature coming in. I know what it takes, I know what has to be better and knowing what they expect of me coming up here. There are a lot of little details coming together and it's just all around. I'm a little more mature, it takes a little bit of time to develop and obviously I think that's one of the reasons I feel more comfortable.
On if he reminds himself to be aggressive with his size:
You try to keep that in your mind, sure. I think the way I play and the way to be successful for me is to be aggressive and be in people's face everywhere on the ice. It doesn't matter if it's neutral zone, offensive zone closing gaps or closing guys in the defensive zone. It's part of my game and I think if I'm aggressive I'm at the top of my game. It's something I have to continue to work on and continue to do.
On playing alongside Jake Gardiner:
Playing with Gards is huge. He's a very dynamic player, he can make plays happen. It doesn't matter if it's in the defensive zone or the offensive zone, he can get the puck out with his skating ability and he skates himself out of trouble. It's a big part of a pairing when you have a guy like that who can skate the puck like that. I'm trying to complement him by being physical and strong in the defensive zone. A big part of us playing together has been keeping it simple and he has been a great help for me coming up here and playing.
Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Leafs and Flames...
Toronto Maple Leafs
21 van Riemsdyk - 42 Bozak - 81 Kessel
19 Lupul - 43 Kadri - 25 Santorelli
26 Winnik - 24 Holland - 71 Clarkson
20 Booth - 23 Smith - 18 Panik
3 Phaneuf - 4 Franson
51 Gardiner - 55 Holzer
44 Rielly - 12 Robidas
20 Glencross - 23 Monahan - 19 Jones
13 Gaudreau - 86 Jooris - 25 Hudler
21 Raymond - 60 Granlund - 32 Byron
25 Bollig - 18 Stajan - 17 Bouma
5 Giordano - 7 Brodie
4 Russell - 6 Wideman
15 Smid - 29 Engelland