Leafs’ Old Nucleus Still Alive

“Randy Carlyle can coach; Dion Phaneuf can play effectively with lots of ice time and Phil Kessel can score with the best of them. Individually, they would be sound elements of any team in the NHL. As a tandem, and Read More

Does The Shanaplan Prevail?

TORONTO (Apr. 25) — Rapid achievement in professional sport can be intoxicating. And, hauntingly mercurial if not guided by a steady hand. With that in mind, we wonder how the Toronto Maple Leafs might proceed after graduating from the National… Read More

Tip Your Hat to the Caps

TORONTO (Apr. 24) — It was only six days ago that the lead sports columnist at the Washington Post referred to the city’s National Hockey League players as “choking dogs”. That would be Thomas Boswell, who wrote that the Capitals… Read More

Don’t Count ‘Em Out

TORONTO (Apr. 22) — Yes, the Maple Leaf are down. Facing elimination on Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre. But, there is nothing about this scrappy, underdog team that suggests it is done. If the Leafs could arrange to… Read More

Leafs-Capitals Still A Puzzle

TORONTO (Apr. 14) — Well, yes, David hung in with Goliath on Thursday night. In fact, the Toronto Maple Leafs nearly toppled the behemoth of the National Hockey League in their playoff opener. For the first time in exactly 16… Read More

Connor Who? Auston Who?

TORONTO (Nov. 2) — As so often happens in professional sport when hype trumps expectation, the main characters in Tuesday night’s drama at Air Canada Centre barely made it on stage. This was billed as a showdown between the last… Read More

Since the Causeway St. Calamity

TORONTO (May 13) — You remember it well… though you’d surely rather forget. Three years. 156 weeks. 1,096 days. 26,304 hours. 1,578,240 minutes. All passed by 11:15 p.m. (Eastern) on Friday since the shattering of Leafs Nation. May 13, 2013.… Read More

NHL Scout: “Leafs in a perfect spot”

TORONTO (Apr. 21) — If you’re an avid follower of the Toronto Maple Leafs, you will recognize the two most significant games played by your hockey club in the past ten years. Clearly, and despite the ignominious result, Game 7… Read More

Meltdown Against Beantown

TORONTO (Apr. 9) — Where have we seen this before… a Toronto professional sports team coughing up apparent–to–certain victory against a rival from Boston? Okay, the stakes weren’t nearly as high on Friday night as during the Causeway St. Calamity… Read More

Leafs Triumverate Dissolved — Finally

The Maple Leafs are pretty much the same and will stay that way until the failed nucleus (of Randy Carlyle, Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel) is addressed. — BERGER BYTES, July 10, 2014. TORONTO (Feb. 10, 2016) — And here we… Read More

Leafs Need To Rehabilitate Bernier

TORONTO (Nov. 27) — It is a timeworn and chauvinistic axiom that repeatedly bears itself: “One man’s gain is another man’s loss.” Run it past either of Jonathan Bernier or James Reimer and he’ll nod heartily. This two–step tango has… Read More

Is Reimer Truly a No. 1?

TORONTO (Nov. 14) — We can say this much for James Reimer: He is the only puck–stopper the Toronto Maple Leafs have deployed in the post–2005 lockout era to provide the team a stretch of dependable work. Literally, the lone… Read More

Bernier’s Baby Has the Scoop

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (June 18) — Those newby children make for terrific pawns, don’t they? Can’t even say “da–da” yet and their fathers are heading elsewhere in the National Hockey League. What a wonderful world. For those unaware, Martine… Read More

Burke and Gretzky Join Forces

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 27) — It has been more than five years since Brendan Burke died in an automobile mishap in Indiana, but it must seem like 500 years to his father, Brian Burke. To endure the passing… Read More

Why Blame the NHL?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 13) — I knew Steve Montador. And I liked Steve Montador. It was impossible not to. You simply had to meet the guy. I was accorded that opportunity in San Jose, Calif. on May 9,… Read More

The “Toronto Collapse” – Part 4

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Aug. 15) – If you live in this city and look up the word “collapse” in the dictionary, the subliminal mind imagines a blue-and-white Maple Leafs logo. The reason is simple: While other Toronto teams suffer… Read More

The “Toronto Collapse” – Part 3

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (July 21) – Frankly, it is difficult to include the baseball Blue Jays as part of the now-famed “Toronto Collapse.” After all, the team provided our city its most exhilarating moments of the past 50 years… Read More

Eastern Conference Deficit is Relative

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (July 11) – In response to my blog from Thursday suggesting the Maple Leafs are better positioned for a prime draft choice than a playoff spot next season, a cabal of die-hard fans pointed out the… Read More
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