Well, here I sit in Starbucks (yah I’m one of those guys lol) contemplating the upcoming Marlies season while rocking my Leafs ballcap; all the while trying to drown out the slightly annoying hipster music being pumped through the speakers without pause. I’m attempting to listen to Dallas Eakins latest interview and one cannot help but get fired up for hockey in Toronto and more so with a team that sounds like it is only headed in one direction, UP!. Eakins seemed pleased with the assembled group and in particular Mark Owuya who he called he hardest working Marlie right now.
Although Eakins did appear to be quite pleased with the group overall he didn’t hesitate when asked to call out Nazem Kadri for coming into camp in what he described as ‘unacceptable’ shape which I found absolutely baffling for a kid that just went through a summer fitness regime with Gary Roberts. I am truly curious as to what Roberts would have said about the whole situation. Kadri however had his own comments to share about it here:
One thing you have to wonder is if Eakins in learning some media manipulation tricks from local master Brian Burke, calling out a player that appears to be on the verge of making a direct impact with the big club and pushing him whenever possible to make that jump, here’s hoping!
Other news has also started trickling out of camp about Paul Ranger and after reading the article below it sounds like this young man has truly rediscovered his passion for the game which truly bodes well not only for the Marlies this year but perhaps a longer term relationship with the Maple Leafs where he already seems destined to play for but of course only time will tell.
Seems Ranger also came into camp in the best shape of any Marlie this year, setting a pretty darn high bar after being out of hockey for almost three years. I cannot imagine the commitment level that must have taken especially being an out of shape skinny fat guy d-man myself and the fact that this greatly impressed Dallas Eakins (Rangers fitness, not mine lol), who is in phenomenal shape and consistently entering iron-man like races himself.
Whatever the case Ranger in my humble opinion could not have come back at a better time, to a better organization, to a better team with a better coach. He rediscovered his love for the game, entering into an organization that is relatively young overall with a solid emerging d-core and with a coach that has won the respect of opposing teams, media, players and hockey brain trusts everywhere.