by Clayton Hansler
The calendar has flipped to September, school is back and the first inklings of hockey has filled the air. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospects will compete in their first game of the rookie tournament Saturday evening as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks at GM Centre in Oshawa, Ontario.
For Stuart Percy
, whose St. Michael's Majors contended for the Memorial Cup prior to being drafted, it has been only a short time away from competition.
"It's basically an ongoing season, there hasn't been much down time, but it's always fun to be on the ice so there's no complaints," said the Leafs first round selection.
Percy will join an impressive defensive corps that includes fellow Memorial Cup contender Jesse Blacker
, as well as NCAA grad Jake Gardiner
For David Broll
, selected in the sixth round by the Leafs at the recent 2011 draft, the chance to be back on the ice is a welcomed change. Broll's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds' season was cut short last season as they failed to make the post-season and the intimidating forward's summer has been mostly been spent in a weight room.
"I worked really hard this summer preparing myself for this opportunity and the time has come now, so I'm really excited" said the 6-foot-1 forward who feels motivated by the entry level contract he signed with the Leafs after being drafted.
Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins, and bench boss for the blue and white tournament team, has been hard at work bringing together a group whose age spans 18-25 and experience is equally as varied.
"We've tried to keep it simple," said Eakins, who admitted the system they're running likely won't be used by either the Leafs or the Marlies this season. "I want them to go out there and relax. I want them to play their game."
Off-season Swedish signing, Mark Owuya
, will get the nod from Eakins to start the game against the Blackhawks. Garret Sparks
, the second goalie for the Leafs at the tournament, is expected to see time between the pipes as well, likely relieving Owuya in the game's second half.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at GM Centre and will be televised on Rogers TV, as well as online at MapleLeafs.com on a 30 minute delay. Follow the Maple Leafs and Chansler on twitter for updates on all the action, and join the game long conversation on the Maple Leafs Facebook page.Check out the full roster here
.EXPECTED LEAFS LINEUPSTARTING IN GOAL: Mark OwuyaFORWARDS
McKegg - Crescenzi - Nicholls
Broll - Heard - Frattin
Ross - Ryan - Devane
Olden - Carrick - Leivo
Clarke - Gardiner
Stanisz - Blacker
Urban - Percy