Matthews Still Splendidly Atypical

TORONTO (Oct. 17) — Barring a protracted injury–absence, Auston Matthews will undoubtedly score between 50 and 60 goals this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Should be count 55, he’ll break the franchise record that Rick Vaive established in 1981–82.… Read More

Is Canada Ready For the Leafs?

TORONTO (Oct. 14) — For the past 38 years, a vast dichotomy has prevailed between fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs and those loyal to other National Hockey League teams in Canada. With respect to Toronto and Montreal, this division… Read More

Go Ahead And “Expect”

TORONTO (Oct. 9) — It’s the oldest ploy in the management arsenal of professional sport: Use the media to temper expectation before the season. If things go sideways, you can therefore remind everyone “hey, we told you so”. To varying… Read More

Leafs Will Make The Final Four

TORONTO (Sep. 28) — So, I’ve been thinking the past few days… are the Maple Leafs for real? Can they build on their colossal improvement from a year ago? Every hockey fiber in my body says yes. And… yes. The… Read More

The Flawed Matthews Argument

TORONTO (June 5) — In early–1998, it was announced by the National Hockey League that the Toronto Maple Leafs would be moving to the Eastern Conference after 16 years of geographic displacement in the West. For reasons unexplained, the NHL… Read More

Leafs Should Have a Captain

TORONTO (June 2) — From the inception of the National Hockey League in November 1917 until Feb. 24, 1986, the line remained unbroken. For nearly 70 calendar years — the entire history of the franchise — a trainer with the… Read More

Should Matthews Sprout Wings?

TORONTO (May 22) — As part of his popular, weekend–notes column on Sunday, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun posed an interesting question: “In watching [William] Nylander playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom [with Sweden at the World Hockey Championships], I couldn’t… Read More

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

Guess What? Cujo is 50

TORONTO (Apr. 29) — Happy milestone birthday to the best Leafs goalie of the post–1967 era. Curtis Joseph turns 50 today. He was born in Keswick, Ont. (70 miles north of Toronto) the same day the Leafs and Canadiens were… Read More

Comparing Auston and Wendel

TORONTO (Mar. 30) — So, which accomplishment is more impressive: Wendel Clark’s 34 goals in 1985–86 that stood, for more than three decades, as the rookie–season record for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Or, the 35 goals (and counting) by Auston… Read More

Rielly Will Be the Leafs Captain

VANCOUVER (Dec. 3) — It’s a no–brainer. And, it should happen by next season. Morgan Rielly will become the 18th captain in Toronto Maple Leafs history. There is no longer any reason for the club to delay its quest. The… 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

Leafs Will Learn — Eventually

TORONTO (Nov. 1) — It will be a tell–tale sign that the young Maple Leafs are maturing when the club approaches a double–header like this past weekend with more of a competitive edge and less satisfaction. Though it yielded zero… Read More

October Manna From Heaven

TORONTO (Oct. 13) — In a city that continues to hunger for sports accomplishment, October of 2016 has been quite remarkable. And, we still have 18 days before Halloween. It began for baseball fans, with the Toronto Blue Jays winning… Read More

Canada–USA Rivalry Dormant

TORONTO (Sep. 21) — For a time earlier in the millennium, it appeared as if Canada would have a hockey rival capable of usurping the Russians in parity and malice. The Salt Lake City (2002) and Vancouver (2010) Winter Olympics… Read More

Don’t Fret Over Matthews Contract

TORONTO (July 15) — In professional sport, as elsewhere in commerce, meaningful negotiation requires perseverance. Under the current Toronto Maple Leafs administration, that may skew more decidedly. No one involved, however, in the Auston Matthews entry–level talks are astonished, or… Read More

Most Coaches Have Two Left Feet

TORONTO (May 10) — Among the hidden stories of Guy Boucher becoming head coach of the Ottawa Senators this week (replacing Dave Cameron) involved unspoken evidence that Boucher would have been hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs 12 months ago,… Read More

Leafs Could Be Wasting Millions

TORONTO (May 2) — Shocking, wasn’t it, that Brendan Shanahan refused to reveal the Maple Leafs’ plan after winning the draft lottery on Saturday? The same Shanahan who hired a general manager that wouldn’t confirm the chill of an arctic… Read More
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