MONTREAL - College free agents are a low-risk, high-reward gamble that usually reap very little fruit in the National Hockey League. Curry 6 Outlet . But in the case of Tyler Bozak, signed as a free agent out of the University of Denver, the gamble has paid off about as well as anyone with the Leafs, then Brian Burke and Ron Wilson steering the ship, could have envisioned back in April of 2009. The crafty 6-foot-1 middleman from Regina has cast aside the odds and become a viable NHL player, one who (rightly or wrongly) has risen to the first line centre gig in Toronto, this for a player who went undrafted out of the British Columbia Hockey League. Breaking free of Andrei Markov in the second frame of Tuesdays opener, Bozak would beat Carey Price with the shorthanded marker that would swing the opening night festivities for the Leafs, the go-ahead goal in what proved a not so pretty 4-3 victory. "I think mainly just because Im not a really flashy player out there," Bozak told TSN.ca of the doubts hes continually had to overcome, including those in recent years in regards to his viability as the centreman to Phil Kessel. "People expect a first line centre to go out there and bang with the other team and put up huge points, but I think Ive found a role with the team here that works with the guys Im playing with. It doesnt matter to me what anybody outside the room says, just the people close to me and the guys inside the room. I know they believe in me to do the job and thats all that matters to me." Martin St. Louis rose from the University of Vermont into an eventual scoring champ at the age of 37. But for every success story in the form of St. Louis or even Bozak, there are dozens upon dozens who fall short in their attempts to leap from college into the NHL. The Leafs tried their luck with the likes of Brayden Irwin and Christian Hanson among others, only finding a winning hand in Bozak, who has carved out a valuable role within the organization, signing a five-year deal worth $21 million this past summer. "I got a really good opportunity when I got here with Ron Wilson and Brian Burke," Bozak recalled. "I cant thank those guys enough. And then luckily enough, Randy came in here and liked what he saw with me. You never know whats going to happen when you get a new coach, but I think he likes what I do and what I bring to the table. Ive just gotta keep trying to get better every year and keep moving forward." The doubts havent stopped for Bozak. Questions linger about his potency for the gig he currently occupies, the organization ultimately deeming him a better fit for the roster than Mikhail Grabovski, who was bought out this summer. "I dont read into much in the media or those bloggers that chirp me," Bozak sniped of the social media chatter. "Its funny to me. Not one thing that someone I dont know says is going to bother me at all. Its Twitter. You can say whatever you want to anyone. Itll never bother me. I find it quite funny actually." Bozak may never be a perfect fit for the role he owns, but his rise from an undrafted college free agent into a more than capable NHL centre is worth taking notice of. Five Points 1. Orr/Parros The scene for was striking for the "déjà vu" it reeked of. Back in January of 2011, George Parros, then a member of Randy Carlyles Anaheim Ducks, dropped the gloves with Colton Orr, a formulaic battle of two heavyweights. The scrap ended shortly after it began. Parros delivered a right-hand to Orr that would send him thundering to the ground, his face landing square on the Air Canada Centre ice. The now 31-year-old Orr would miss the remainder of that season with a concussion, one that nearly cost him his career in the year that followed. In a disturbing role reversal Tuesday at the Bell Centre, it was Parros landing chin-first on the ice after a brief tangle with Orr, their second bout of the game and one of five on the night between the two teams. "It was the same type of thing," said Carlyle after the game. "It wasnt a punch, it was where the guy fell down and unfortunately hit his chin and his face on the ice. Its unfortunate. Those are tough things." The scene began after a series of tussles between Carter Ashton and members of the Canadiens, including Brandon Prust and Jarred Tinordi. Feeling he had been grabbed by P.K. Subban, Orr confronted the Montreal defender before wrestling with Parros once more. "Its scary," Orr said. "Ice isnt going to give." Like Orr, Parros suffered a concussion as a result of the play, but was alert and conscious at a local hospital following the game. 2. Special Teams edge Special teams were a point of pride for the Leafs last season and loomed large for the club in the opener this season. James van Riemsdyk opened the scoring with a power-play goal, Bozak beat Price with the go-ahead shorthanded goal and the Toronto penalty kill erased all four Montreal opportunities. "I thought our special teams were the difference in the game," Carlyle observed afterward. "The shorthanded goal kind of turned everything in our favour. And our power-play got us going." The Leafs had the second-best penalty kill in 2013 and the 14th ranked power-play, both factors that helped the team reach the postseason for the first time in nine years. 3. Ranger makes emotional return to the NHL Paul Ranger knew it would be emotional. Playing in his first regular season NHL game since October 22, 2009, a long journey that saw him out of hockey entirely for nearly three years, Ranger couldnt help but to be swept up with emotion in the lead-up to his Leafs debut on Tuesday night. "It was emotional at first," he told TSN.ca after a 20-minute performance which saw him on the ice for the Canadiens first goal. "Just being back and knowing where I am on my journey." Warming up in the underbelly of the Bell Centre before the game, Ranger was hit with emotion. "I knew it was going to come," he said smiling. "I knew at some point I was going to just feel emotional and it was okay. Its okay to do that because its special." 4. Reimer gets the opening night gig Carlyle called it a "hunch". Opting for James Reimer against the Canadiens in lieu of local boy Jonathan Bernier, Carlyle was rewarded with a sturdy 34-save performance and opening night win. "You always want to be the guy that starts it off," Reimer said before the game. The method behind the hunch for Carlyle was the performance of the incumbent no. 1 against Montreal last season, the 25-year-old posting a 1.85 goals against average and .948 save percentage, also offering a 37-save shutout in his only appearance in Montreal. Of his battle with Bernier for the starting gig, Reimer said it hadnt crossed his mind in Tuesdays action. "When Im in there right now during games, Im not competing against anybody on my team," he said. "Thats not what its about. Im competing for my teammates. Im competing against the other team, not against the guy sitting beside me." 5. Bozak on Kessel Phil Kessel stole the day when he agreed to an 8-year extension with the Leafs on Tuesday morning. Asked for the ingredient in Kessels game that was perhaps overlooked, Bozak responded with an element that was on striking display during the postseason, one that saw Kessel post four goals and six points in seven games. "I think maybe some people dont think he has a ton of compete in him, but we in the room know he does," Bozak told TSN.ca. "He puts up those points every single year for a reason." Stat-Pack 5 - Fights between the Leafs and Canadiens, including a pair each for Colton Orr and Mark Fraser. 61 - Shot attempts for the Leafs. 25:27 - Ice-time for Cody Franson, second among all players to Dion Phaneuf, who logged 27-plus. 4 - Players who made their Leaf debuts on Tuesday night, including Dave Bolland, Paul Ranger, Mason Raymond and Troy Bodie. 5-0-1 - Career record for James Reimer in the month of October. Special Teams Capsule PP: 1-6 PK: 4-4 Quote of the Night "Its funny to me. Not one thing that someone I dont know says is going to bother me at all. Its Twitter. You can say whatever you want to anyone. Itll never bother me. I find it quite funny actually." -Tyler Bozak on the criticism he receives in social media. Up Next The Leafs visit Philadelphia for the Flyers home opener on Wednesday night. Under Armour Sneakers Outlet .5 million. The 25-year-old Varlamov is thriving under first-year coach and Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, posting a 26-9-5 record with a 2. Under Armour Basketball Shoes Online . In this space, I will be writing new and unique pieces about the team that you wont be able to find anywhere else. So naturally, in an attempt to come up with a fresh topic about the Ottawa Senators, I am going to start with a piece about their goaltending.CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox say they have acquired two minor league players and cash from Tampa Bay to complete the deal that sent reliever Jesse Crain to the Rays in July. The White Sox said Wednesday they acquired left-handed pitching prospectt Sean Bierman and infielder Ben Kline, who both played at Class A this season. Ua Hovr Online. The White Sox dealt Crain to Tampa Bay on July 29. He was on the disabled list with a strained shoulder at the time and did not pitch for the Rays. ' ' '
Team Canada skated to a 6-2 win over the Czech Republic in Montreal on Tuesday but lost defenceman Aaron Ekblad in the process. Paul Martha Jersey Store . Ekblad was on the receiving end of a ferocious hit at the Czech Republic blue line in the third period, was wobbly on his skates as he left the ice and did not return. After the game, Ekblad was seen walking around and joking with teammates. He will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. Ekblad was drafted first overall by the Florida Panthers at the NHL Draft in June. Haydn Fleury, Anthony Duclair, Frederik Gauthier each had a goal and an assist for Canada while Sam Reinhart, Curtis Lazar and Nicholas Paul also scored for Canada. Zachary Fucale stopped all nine shots he faced in the Canadian net while Tristan Jarry made five saves on seven shots in relief of Fucale. Highly touted prospect Connor McDavid was not in the lineup. Canada faces Russia on Wednesday and you can watch all the live action exclusively on TSN.ca and TSN GO at 7pm et/4pm pt. Richard Bell Jersey Store .com) - Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending May 11. Mike Nott Jersey Store .ca! There is plenty of blame to be shared as a result of the most recent NHL player (Pittsburghs Brooks Orpik) to be evacuated from the ice on a stretcher following an ugly incident Saturday night in Boston.PHILADELPHIA - Right-winger Linden Vey was traded to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday by the Los Angeles Kings for the 50th overall pick. The 22-year-old Vey had five assists in 18 games for Los Angeles last season. He had 55 goals and 103 assists over three season with the Manchester Monarchs, the Kiings American Hockey League affiliate. Dave Pacella Jersey Store . Vancouver acquired the 50th pick in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. The Canucks sent defenceman Jason Garrison, the rights to forward Jeff Costello and a seventh-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft to Tampa in return. ' ' '