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sixer

Brett Lebda to start as Winger Tonight for the Leafs

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I guess he's not really working out on defence, but then again he can't be worse then Hudler.

Source

Leafs’ Lebda will dress as left-winger tonight

The Toronto Maple Leafs are trying a new twist with their roster tonight.

Brett Lebda, who has been in and out of the lineup as a healthy scratch, will dress as a left winger. The defenceman will skate with John Mitchell and Colton Orr on the fourth line against the visiting Atlanta Thrashers. Jay Rosehill has been returned to the Toronto Marlies.

Nazem Kadri will remain as a healthy scratch while Jonas Gustavsson will make his second consecutive start in net in the absence of injured Jean-Sebastien Giguere. While the Leafs do not yet have a report from the specialist who is scheduled to examine Giguere, coach Ron Wilson said the veteran goaltender would likely be out at least a week to 10 days and definitely not play in either of the next two games.

The Lebda experiment is an intriguing one. Wilson estimated that Lebda, a terrific skater, played 18 games on the wing last year for Detroit. Lebda says it was closer to 10 but, the point is, it’s not unfamiliar territory to the 28-year-old.

“We like his speed and if we need to use him on the back end, he’s also available for that too,” said Wilson. “Maybe he can play a little bit on the point on the power play as well.”

“He struggled a little bit on the back end and with our defence being healthy, it’s a chance to keep him in the lineup,” the coach added.

The transition is not unheard of. For years, the Leafs moved Wade Belak back and forth between the two positions though his role was as an enforcer rather than a skill player like Lebda. Atlanta’s leading point-getter, Dustin Byfuglien, played forward for Chicago last season but is on defence for the Thrashers.

And Wilson himself moved back and forth between forward and defence during his playing days as a Leaf in the late ’70s.

“From my own experience it was easier to go from up front to back,” said Wilson. “It’s a little bit harder because the pace of the game as a defenceman is entirely different than being a forward. But he’s such a good skater and with playing left wing on the fourth line I can almost automatically say be the third man high and it’s like playing a shift with three defencemen.”

Lebda said he would try to make the most of the opportunity.

“Anyway you can help the team, that’s what you’ve got to do,” he told AM 640. “If coach thinks that’s the best way to go, I’m going to go out there and use my wheels, get it deep and try to get some hits on the forecheck.”

Edited by sixer

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I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see him perform much better. The dude is fast, can't play defense, and couldn't possibly be any worse on the wing.

nate94gt and anthonyn66 like this

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I can see him as a winger. He has speed.

What scared me was that I didn't look closely and read that he would start as a Wing.

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Yet another fantastic decision on a free agent signing by the Leafs....yes that was sarcasm.

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Has to be his last chance at sticking in the NHL. Dude has had many chances this year and has been awful. -12 in 16 games is pretty impressive.

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Has to be his last chance at sticking in the NHL. Dude has had many chances this year and has been awful. -12 in 16 games is pretty impressive.

.

I wonder if he can do -60? We should start a Brett Lebda '-1 for every game played' watch.

Edited by UP2HERE

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Lebda played 10 games as a winger in Detroit last year?

I honestly don't remember that. Though I may be blocking out most of his play last season.

Has to be his last chance at sticking in the NHL. Dude has had many chances this year and has been awful. -12 in 16 games is pretty impressive.

I know bashing the Leafs is a popular sport among hockey fans, but signing Lebda for $1.45 million was seriously a head scratcher. He was not an unknown commodity, and pretty clearly headed down in terms of play, not up.

Edited by haroldsnepsts

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Lebda played 10 games as a winger in Detroit last year?

I honestly don't remember that. Though I may be blocking out most of his play last season.

I thought the same thing and yes the brain does block out very painful memories, its for our own good. As a result none of us will remember Jiri Hudler playing a single game this year.

Veery, atodaso and thegerkin like this

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Can you say, left wing lock?

Lebda will win the Selke this year, beating out the defensively overrated Pavel Datsyuk.

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I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see him perform much better. The dude is fast, can't play defense, and couldn't possibly be any worse on the wing.

right. i figured he was more of a winger than a defenseman IMO

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Has to be his last chance at sticking in the NHL. Dude has had many chances this year and has been awful. -12 in 16 games is pretty impressive.

If so then he can't come back here to Detroit. Banish him wherever you like just not to Detroit.

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I think Wilson has him confused with Meech. Either that or he just saw that Lebda was never in his own zone and just assumed that he was playing on the wing.

55fan likes this

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I think Wilson has him confused with Meech. Either that or he just saw that Lebda was never in his own zone and just assumed that he was playing on the wing.

That's exactly what I thought too, I recall Meech playing as a forward, Lebda not so much. Or at all. Granted the team was beat to hell last year with all the injuries, so Babs had to get a little creative at times.

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That's exactly what I thought too, I recall Meech playing as a forward, Lebda not so much. Or at all. Granted the team was beat to hell last year with all the injuries, so Babs had to get a little creative at times.

The article even states Lebda saying it was more like 10 games he played at wing, not 18. Strange. I seriously don't remember him ever being moved up to wing.

Maybe Toronto thought they were signing Meech?

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I don't remember Lebda ever playing wing here...unless it was very early on in his stint?

At any rate, this could be a good move, as someone else stated. He can't play defense, but he's fast and could probably force some turnovers by pressure.

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i'd like to see the wings do this with rafalski. he can play wing even strength and the point on the pp. he'd feel right at home playing on the wing seeing as how he spends the majority of his time on ice deep in the offensive zone.

the only problem is he is slow as molasses. maybe when there is a rush going the other way he could skate to our bench and have another player join the play and catch up for him. it would be faster that way.

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