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Gameday: Liles, Gleason Face Former Teams

Thursday, 01.9.2014 / 12:35 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Liles, Gleason Face Former Teams

John-Michael Liles didn’t have to wait long to face his former team.

Michael Smith
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Eight days ago, wearing a tuque and eye black, Liles walked off the ice at Michigan Stadium as a Toronto Maple Leaf. An hour or so later, it was announced that he had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, along with defensive prospect Dennis Robertson, for defenseman Tim Gleason.

Today, Liles and Gleason are dressing in opposite locker rooms.

“I’ll just go out and play like it’s another game. That’s how I’m treating it. It’s part of the business, and it’s what we do,” Liles said. “You try to put it behind you as quickly as possible, I think.”

“(Gleason) was here long before I was. He’s a very classy guy who’s done a lot for this organization on and off the ice, a lot of things people aren’t aware of, charity-wise,” Muller said. “When you give an ‘A’ to a guy, it obviously means he’s a leader, and he brought that.”

It was ultimately a trade that made sense for both the Canes and the Leafs and gave fresh starts to two veteran defensemen.

“John was a player that we were looking for to add to our back end there. We consider ourselves more of a puck-moving team, and we want to move it quick out of our zone. John is a veteran guy. We’ve got three good, young guys back on the point, so he brings some experience. And we needed some help on the power play, and he’s had some good experience of running a power play,” Muller said. “It was just a couple needs for our hockey club, and we thought he fit the bill.

“For Gleas, the way Toronto plays is more suited to his style,” Muller said.

And Gleason will probably look to bang a body early tonight to get settled into the game.

“I’m sure. That’s his style,” Muller said, smiling. “That’s the fun thing about the game. When the game starts, you forget who knows who. I’m sure he’ll be nervous as well, coming back so quickly playing in a rink where he’s played so long.”

While this will be Gleason’s road debut in the Leafs’ blue and white, Liles has already skated on PNC Arena ice with the Canes, in addition to two road games last week.

In three games since the trade, Liles is a plus-5 and has logged 15:26 of average ice time per game.

“It’s a different atmosphere and a different attitude in the room, but you’re going to have that when you go from two different organizations,” Liles said. “It’s been a nice feeling in the room, and that’s how it goes. When you’re winning, the atmosphere in the room is a little better.”

It’s been a welcoming atmosphere for Liles, as well, as he received a text from former Leaf Mike Komisarek on the day of the trade. Before recently moving into a Raleigh apartment, Liles and his wife took up residence with the Komisareks

“He’s been great, just giving me the rundown on everything down here and just telling me that I’m going to love it. So far, it’s been great,” Liles said. “The guys in the room have been fantastic. I’ve had the chance to go to dinner a few times with guys, and it’s been great. I’m starting to get settled down here in Raleigh and enjoying it so far.”

In lineup notes, Anton Khudobin was in the starter’s crease during the morning skate and was first off the ice for the team, so look for him to make his fourth consecutive start in net. He’s 5-0-0 on the season with a 1.99 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage.

“I think his record speaks for itself. He’s played very well, and he’s focused,” Muller said. “He’s well-rested, so we’ve been able to run with him right now.”

Defenseman Ron Hainsey will be a game-time decision, Muller said. Hainsey skated in yesterday’s brief afternoon practice but was not on the ice with the team this morning. He’s a bit “under the weather,” according to Muller.

The Hurricanes will look to extend their season-long four-game winning streak when they close out their three-game season series with the Leafs, who have lost their last two games.

“There are no easy games and no easy opponent, whether they’re winning or losing,” Muller said. “Everyone is battling every night, and we have nice momentum.”




1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47


J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 55 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 53 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 55 12 19 7 31
K. Versteeg 54 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 55 9 21 1 30
E. Lindholm 55 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 48 8 12 0 20
J. Nordstrom 44 5 10 2 15
R. Hainsey 55 3 11 -12 14
C. Ward 15 11 7 .909 2.34
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
Alumni Game