Well, folks, it was quite a year! The Marlies went through a work stoppage, transformation of their roster, injuries, slumps, influx of youth and still provided playoff hockey for a 2nd straight year. With that said, here is the final Pre Game Meal blog tied into the 2012-2013 Marlies season.
While I don’t believe we’ve seen the last of them, it is certainly worth saluting the likes of Mike Zigomanis and Mike Mottau.
Mottau has amassed 300 NHL games, playing most recently with his hometown Boston Bruins, before arriving to the Leafs franchise. The 35-year-old Massachusetts native provided many things to the Marlies organization. The sure handed, sturdy defenceman was a calming presence on the blue-line and partnered at times with Morgan Rielly, helping in his development. Mottau was a true leader, even while taking his turn out of the lineup (based on the number of defenceman and the veteran rule) he continued to be a strong influence in the dressing room. Despite battling injury for part of the year, once joining the Marlies, he still suited up in his 800th pro game this season. A true class act, Mottau displayed this every day both on and off the ice.
Zigomanis fits into many of the same categories listed above. The veteran forward played with Mottau back in 2005-2006 with the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen. Like Mottau, his last NHL appearance was with his hometown team…the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Scarborough resident completed his 4th season wearing Marlies blue and white and saying he has been one of the most reliable players on the ice during that time is an understatement. The 32-year-old is counted on in every key game situation and is often in the pressure filled role of winning a faceoff with the game on the line. Over his 500 games in the AHL, he is arguably one of the best, if not the best, faceoff men. He’ll play the wing; he’ll play center. He will give you everything he has on every shift. Recognized by the AHL as the Man of the Year, his time outside of the rink in his community has even outweighed his time spent as a leader around the rink..this with 700 pro games under his belt. A stand up guy and a role model in life and hockey, Zigomanis displays it all.
A recap of the Western Conference Semi-Final series vs Grand Rapids. The Marlies would force a game 6, but fall to the Griffins on home ice on May 21st, 2013.
GAME 3: 5-4 Loss @ Grand Rapids – Marlies goal scorers: Hamilton, Abbott, McKegg, Ashton
GAME 4: 4-1 Loss @ Grand Rapids – Marlie goal scorer: Ashton
GAME 5: 4-1 WIN @ Grand Rapids – Marlies goal scorers: Abbott, Acton, Rielly, Zigomanis
Top Marlies playoff point men: Scott: 7g-2a=9pts/Zigomanis 2g-7a=9pts/D’amigo 1g-8a=9pts
A huge THANK-YOU to……YOU! Not only the fans, the BEST FANS!
Thanks for making it a pleasure to do our jobs all year long. On the broadcast side, we appreciate the support given by you watching,listening and reading, while thankful for the commitment from Leafs TV, TSN 1050 Toronto, Rogers TV and AHL Live and Marlies.ca/Mapleleafs.com
It has been such a blast to interact with all of you online, at the rink or through the TV/Radio this year. I am truly honoured to be part of the coverage for the Toronto Marlies and even though a return trip to the Calder Cup was not meant to be, there were plenty of positives to take from this season. I am looking forward to the next!
Please hang around our site this off-season. We’ll keep you up to date on anything Marlies, as well as bring you coverage from such events as the NHL Draft, development camp, rookie camp and more!
Enjoy a safe and happy summer everyone and I hope to find you soon, through the Pre Game Meal!
*Photos courtesy of Christian at www.tsgphoto.com