We learned yesterday that people are very passionate about where young Nazem Kadri plays his hockey this season. Really, it's about all anyone who follows the Leafs (and apparently those who hate the team too if our comments section is to be believed) can talk about at the moment. That's too bad, because Nikolai Kulemin is quietly having a whale of a preseason and giving every indication that he plans to deliver on the promise he showed in the second half last season.
Playing on the second unit with Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur, the Russian has shown flashes of the all-around game Toronto desperately needs from those filling the top six forward spots. He can contribute on both the power play and penalty kill and seems to getting more and more comfortable using his size down low. It's almost enough to make a Leaf fan slightly optimistic that better days are ahead.
It's a rare night off for the team, but we've got some good stuff coming later in the day. Here's a few links to get the day started:
Pension Plan Puppets take a look back at the glorious career of Dave Reid.
Michael Langlois at Vintage Leaf Memoris ponders the "final inch" decisions facing the team.
Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox says Brian Burke isn't sweating the salary cap. That's Claude Loiselle's job now.
The Star's Paul Hunter reports Kris Versteeg's name was spelled incorrectly on the Stanley Cup.
The National Post's Sean Fitz-Gerald offers a notes package from last night's game, including thoughts on the top line and an update on Fredrik Sjostrom's recovery from shoulder surgery.
Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman always has something interesting to say in his 30 thoughts columns.