Connolly ready to re-join Leafs

For all of the knocks Tim Connolly takes in Leafs Nation and beyond, he does add an element or two to the Maple Leafs lineup when he is healthy.

And with his first full practice with his teammates since suffering an upper-body injury against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 5, Connolly took a big stride toward returning to the lineup.

The smart money probably is on Connolly being in uniform not until Thursday evening when the Leafs visit the Nashville Predators, with a smaller chance that it happens on Tuesday night when the Phoenix Coyotes visit the Air Canada Centre.

For coach Ron Wilson, Connolly is not just the guy to plug in between Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.

“(Connolly’s defensive contribution) does get overlooked,” Wilson said after the Leafs practised at the MasterCard Centre.

“It’s due to experience and playing for a defensive-minded team in Buffalo. He does have the defensive-zone coverage pretty much nailed.”

Connolly, believed to be recovering from a rib problem, didn’t completely rule out suiting up against the Coyotes. But he wasn’t going to have a clearer idea until Tuesday morning.

“I was not 100% out there today, but I felt pretty good,” Connolly, who has missed the past three games, said. “Skating, shooting, a little bit of everything. It’s just not quite there. I can’t get up to full speed or a full shot but I am not too far away.”

41 Responses to Connolly ready to re-join Leafs

  1. dumbassdoorman says:

    Not actually related here and i posted it in a diff thread too. Ok, so here are words I didn't think I would say for a long time, there appears to be the possibilty of a goaltending controversy in Buffalo. Enroth is playing lights out and now Miller is hurt. Question becomes if Enroths play continues, does this make Miller expendable? What do you think it would cost to land him and who would be interested? Oh and to all the Leafs bashers who say all we do is highjack other articles, notice i posted this as a Leaf fan in a Leaf article about a non-Leaf topic…

  2. dumbassdoorman says:

    Ok, I think if Scrivens is gonna keep getting the starts over gus, it is time to attempt to bring in a vetern backup. Enough of this baptism by fire….Let the kid develop like he should in the AHL…..period. I have nothing against the kid, but half the reason Reimer was prepared was the time he had a a pro, in the ECHL and AHL. He was allowed to learn to be a pro, i think it makes a difference.

  3. alpalstewart says:

    going into the play-offs with a 1-2 punch in net is never a bad thing.Enroth is the hotter goalie of the 2 at the moment, but miller is theyre man without a doubt.

    i do not see them trading him od even really entertaining offers, Miller has been that teams MVP for years now and i still concider him top 10 goalie in the league
  4. dumbassdoorman says:

    LOL…I agree i don't think they should, I am just saying is there and would they? I think he is a top ten without a doubt, but if the right offer came along like say Nash? it would be tough, especially with Enroth playing so well.

  5. reinjosh says:

    And the issue of what the Leafs will do is apparently over. According to Puck Daddy the Leafs have reached out to Turco. Granted he still needs to say yes but considering he's said he wants to play and it looks like there are no other takers I say its almost a given he says yes. 

    Apparently the price fro Nabokov was a 2nd. That's ridiculously high. No thanks. Puck Daddy also pontificates that this probably means Reimer is expected to make a return sooner rather than later. If the Leafs decided for Nabokov or another trade option, it would mean that Reimer probably isn't expected back but this is obviously a stop gap at best. Fine by me. 
    I like it. I've always been a fan. His McGuire act forever endeared me to him.
    Other notes. Since Brad Richards started dating Olivia Munn, the Rags are 6 and 0…
  6. dumbassdoorman says:

    I can live with Marty as our back up, he will know where he stands coming in so that helps. Anyword on what will happen with Gus?

  7. reinjosh says:

    Not to be a technical guy but they actually have similar time. Reimer has 44 AHL games, Scrivens 38, Reimer 28 ECHL games and Scrivens 13 games (the bigger difference but still not huge). Just saying

  8. dumbassdoorman says:

    True, but there was less pressure on Reimer to win is more what i meant and should have stated. When he came up last year the team was going nowhere and nobody expected anything. Right now there is the pressure of losing a playoff spot, that’s a huge difference.

  9. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I'm not sure how his addition helps?

    Like I've stressed…And you guys seem to disagree (for some odd reason). Were not having first line issues.

    Lombardi, Grabovski, Kulemin, MacArthur, Steckel, Frattin have not regiested ONE point in 4 games. Were not talking about goals here…WERE TALKING A POINT, which is alarming.

    Where's the secondary scoring? Oh right, its been mostly dry all season and besides Kessel and Lupul, this forward crop has really done not much.

    You cannot win when only one line scores.

  10. reinjosh says:

    Agreed on that. He came up a bunch of times but never played and they when he did play there wasn't much fan fare around him. 

    I agree, we have to be careful around him. 
  11. 93killer93 says:

    Some interesting stuff from HockeyBreak. He's been reporting for a while that the Leafs have been talking to the Ducks about a trade. He says if the team struggles they could move a star by the new year for some depth. Seems like a fit Leafs have depth and need star power and the ducks need depth. 

  12. reinjosh says:

    Seems like Lombo and Kuly listened to you…

    And none of have disagreed that we think the first line has issues. Don't twist words. Were just not super concerned with the second line's issues yet. 
  13. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Yet? They have not score more than 2 goals in a game since Columbus.

    The reality is besides Kessels…The other 3 lines cannot sustain a forecheck.

    Phoenix is a great example, hard work and showing energy usually rewards you in games.

  14. frankinboltonleafs says:

    I'm concerned. Where we had more confidence in the 2nd line than the 1st last year the roles have reversed this year. So if Grabo and Mac are both out they're talking Colborne already. Kinda looking forward to that here….in Bolton.

  15. LeafsNation4Ever says:

    Colbourne as a starter on the 2nd line?

    Would this work out?
  16. reinjosh says:

    Nope I'm concerned now. Bench MacA and bring up Kadri. Bench someone else and bring up Colborne. This is starting to annoy me. Your right. That's what I'm down to, admitting that your right. Ugh. 😛

  17. frankinboltonleafs says:


    Frattin might finally pot that first one.

  18. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Wilson, unfortunately, has got to go. Watching Nashville, Florida, and even Phoenix is evidence what a good coach can do to a team.

    I actually feel like Wilson has gotten softer from the moment he arrived unfortunately, where's the Wilson that made statements by scratching Stajan or whomever to make a point? I haven't seen him in a couple of years and his benching did wonders for Stajan at the time.

    I actually want the Wilson that sent a message to his players. I would like him to bench Kulemin, a top player that is not producing to send a message. He might be playing well, however, playing well does not put goals and assists on the board.

  19. blaze says:

    What kind of message does that send to Kulimen? Right benching him will make him start scoring, give you're head a shake. You said it yourself he's playing well. He was playing hard at there again tonight.

    If he's clearly working hard out there than it boils down to a confidence issue. What does sitting a game do for his confidence? Somehow he comes back and works harder? I have no issues with someone else cutting in to his ice time and Wilson did start to juggle the lines a bit tonight, more so after injuries.

    Kinda hard to take your opinion seriously when you claim you're more knowledgable then rest yet argue how Franson is our best D and would've been plus 21 in TO over the past two season.

  20. blaze says:

    Would give up practically anything for the any of the big 3, espcially Getzlaf. Unfortunately hockey break is full of it none of those guys are going anywheres.

  21. blaze says:

    Lupul – Getzlaf – Kessel

    Nice little day dream though.

  22. dumbassdoorman says:

    I agree with Blaze, it isn't that the lack of scoring doesn't bother me, it is that they are working hard and getting chances. If they weren't working then fine but they are, sometimes we need patience and i have it wih everyione but that freaking coach.

  23. reinjosh says:

    So some team offered the Leafs a 2nd and a player for Franson. 

  24. reinjosh says:

    Since Alex Ovechkin decided to tweet the pic of Phil Kessel sitting alone at the All Star game, Kessel's put up 1.07 PPG. He put up 33 points in the final 30 games of the season and now has 58 points in his last 48 games. 

    Thank You Ovechkin!
  25. dumbassdoorman says:

    Dreger is reliable for sure, but which team and what player….lol, let the speculation begin

  26. dumbassdoorman says:

    ya, he has been playing way beter and a more complete game for sure. i hope that he gets selected before Ovie at this years all star draft….lol. Best description of Kessels play this year is by Spector, when The Sun asked, "where would the leafs be without Kessel?", his answer, "what is up the creek without a paddl, Alex"….lol. Imagine if he and Lupul has a regualr centre, that being said Connolly has told Wilson he will play tomorrow night.

  27. thisgamewelose says:

    Rangers. Poor staal 🙁

    Nah, I have no idea. Oilers could use him.

  28. dumbassdoorman says:

    A lot of teams could use a good skilled young dman, including my Leafs lol

  29. LeafsNation4Ever says:

    I like Grabo and Kulemin together on the wings, It seems better to me. Colbourne and Kulemin bring in physical two way play, while Grabo does what he does best.

  30. mojo19 says:

    Offense wins games, but defense wins championships. I liked giving Kulemin the chance in the shootout. Anything to try to get him going because the success of Kulemin this year is going to be huge for the success of this team.

    Now Kulemin really dropped the ball because he had a terrible effort in that shootout. So now we're getting closer to maybe taking minutes on the PP away from him etc. Not quite yet, but were getting close.

  31. mojo19 says:

    There is a ripple effect that directly correlates to secondary scoring when Connolly is in the line up.

    In the games Connolly has played this year the Leafs have –

    Won 4-2 vs the Rangers: Lombardi, Lupul, MacArthur and Brown scored.
    Won 4-3 vs the Penguins: Grabovski, Connolly, MacArthur, and Kessel scored.
    Lost 3-2 vs the Senators: MacArthur scored 2, both assisted by Kuley and Grabo.
    Won 5-3 vs the Devils: Lupul (3), Crabb and Grabovski also scored.
    Won 4-1 vs the Jackets: Crabb, Liles, and MacArthur (2) scored.
    Then in the last game he played we were thumped 7-0 by Boston in a complete no show all around.

    So what were you saying about Connolly having no effect on secondary scoring?

  32. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Okay so we don't have an offense right now and our defensive game is sporadic, evident by our great PK, last in the league.

    What do we have exactly? Just a superstar forward and zero support.

  33. TheLeafNation91 says:

    It does not make a difference. At the end of the day its not like we poached someone off the second-line to take his spot or Bozak is a huge boost on the third-line (he was constantly criticisized when there).

    If Connolly did play the last 5 games…Only the Kessel line scored. Their would be no secondary scoring at all.

  34. mojo19 says:

    Our defensive game isn't half bad. There are a lot of teams in the NHL, I think if you watched regularly that you could point out the holes, and the problems. Sometimes Leafs fans get overly critical.

    But ya, we're going to need Kulemin to be good. This is just the reality. We have no other options. Kulemin has to be good, and he has to start scoring. He's one of our best players and he has to play like one.

    This is also an issue that I've always had with the Brian Burke system of "top 6// bottom 6". His formula as he describes it would have 2 lines that are built for offense, and 2 lines built with role players, who have a mixture of toughness, speed, and some skill, but generally the "skill" is specific skillsets (ie Steckel great at face offs, Brown able to drop the gloves from time to time and be a good energy player etc.) So everyone has roles.

    I have always preferred the 9//3, because when some players struggle offensively (and some players will ALWAYS struggle, that's hockey) you have more offensive talent in the line up to pick up the slack.

    This is also why a healthy Connolly makes such a huge difference because it pushes Bozak down, and strengthens the 3rd line. Now with Grabo and Mac hurt, we will need some surprise performances, some over achievement from the Frattin's and the Crabb's of the team, and as we've been discussing for weeks, we're going to need the big man, Nikolai Kulemin to step up and score some goals.

  35. mojo19 says:

    Connolly strengthens the top line, Bozak does in fact strengthen the 3rd line. The deeper the team goes, the more the ice tilts the other way, and the more secondary scoring is inevitable.

    Don't take my word for it, the proof is in the stats. You say no one would have scored regardless of if Connolly is or isn't in the line up, but yet when he is in the line up, the other guys do score. This is a fact. Facts don't lie.

    Your coincidence theory has been noted, and you may be right, but try to be open minded enough to consider the alternative.

  36. frankinboltonleafs says:

    If it's true that would be Lombardi, a 2nd and a ?player/anybody? for Lebda and Slaney. That kinda sounds really good. In the end….Franson can't sit forever.

  37. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I'm not pointing out Kulemin, just secondary scoring in general.

    If healthy, the third-line is Lombardi-Bozak-Armstrong and that line is more offensively talented then you would think.

    However, I'm actually shocked about Lombardi not doing better. He was a 50-60 point guy on Phoenix. Very good offensively and defensively as well? But now, he looks like crap.

    Only in Toronto this happens.

  38. TheLeafNation91 says:

    The team looked fine when Connolly was injured in the early going? Same with Bozak? Same with MacArthur's suspension?

    So whats the major difference now.

    Don't forget Connolly only played 5 games out of 12.

  39. mojo19 says:

    That was with Reimer. Different team altogether.

  40. mojo19 says:

    You don't think missing an entire season might play a factor?

    Also lines like "only in Toronto…" are why you get labeled as being negative. Douchey comment.

  41. glotz_99 says:


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