Despite a better than expected start record wise, the Maple Leafs are happy to have Clarkson in the line up as they have been thoroughly outplayed by the opposition in almost every aspect aside from goaltending early in the 2013/2014 campaign. Clarkson, a good and sometime spectacular player when it comes to possession stats, could go a long way towards helping the Leafs right the ship (that only appears to be sinking if you look below the surface of the water).
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While Clarkson is making his season debut, it appears as if Joffrey Lupul could make his annual trip up to the press box in order to nurse an injury after he suffered a bruised foot in practice yesterday after blocking a shot with his foot. Lupul has been the Leafs best forward so far this season and any absence, no matter how short, would be a blow to the LeafsI don’t know if he knows what he is capable of,” Richards told the Columbus Dispatch. “The tools are all in the tool belt. It’s just depending on when and where and how many of them he wants to pull out and use.”
Richards also gives him minutes on special teams, and the thinking now is that Johansen is using his big body (six-foot-four, 223 pounds) and skills to round into a solid, power player.
3. Richards has frequently changed his lines in the early going this season, but he’s stuck with the same units over the past two games. Here’s what those lines may look like against Toronto: Nick Foligno-Artem Anisimov-Marian Gaborik; Boone Jenner-Brandon Dubinsky-Cam Atkinson; Blake Comeau-Ryan Johansen-R.J. Umberger; and Mark Letestu-Derek MacKenzie-Jared Boll. TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Richard Eckersley, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Ashtone Morgan (Alvaro Rey 76) - Jonathan Osorio, Matias Laba, Jeremy Hall (Reggie Lambe 46), Bobby Convey - Jeremy Brockie, Justin Braun (Andrew Wiedeman 46).
COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Josh Williams, Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall, Agustin Viana (Chad Barson 79) - Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay 86), Wil Trapp, Matias Sanchez, Bernardo Anor (Justin Meram 90) - Federico Higuain - Jairo Arrieta